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EU Refugee And Asylum Pact: Balancing Security And Human Rights In Europe


By The OWP

April 29, 2024


Credits @FFHR.CZ



The recent approval of the EU Refugee and Asylum Pact by the European Parliament is a milestone in the EU’s continuous efforts to change its migration and refugee policies.


This comprehensive reform, which has been in the works since 2015, aims to expedite asylum procedures, increase returns of irregular migrants, and establish a system of shared responsibility among EU member States. At its core, the deal includes many critical provisions aiming at speeding up the asylum process, improving irregular migrants’ returns, and imposing stronger pre-entry screening processes.


This comprehensive strategy has received support from important political factions inside the European Parliament, notably the center-right European People’s Party Group (EPP) and the center-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola praised it as a historic and necessary step forward. However, the accord has not been without criticism and controversy. Hungary and Poland have expressed opposition, and criticism has come from both left-wing and far-right parties. Concerns highlighted by NGOs and human rights organisations revolve around the possibility of increased suffering and fewer safeguards for asylum seekers, particularly those with slim odds of acceptance.


Therefore, the normalisation of imprisonment and extensive border operations are particularly concerning, since they may result in unlawful deportations and human rights violations.


Critics fear that the emphasis on expediting asylum procedures and facilitating the rapid return of rejected applicants could undermine the fairness and due process of asylum proceedings, exacerbating the plight of asylum seekers and driving them down increasingly dangerous migration paths.


The participation of the Council and member states in the implementation phase has also provoked debate. Also, while the Belgian Council Presidency’s discussion paper emphasises the importance of close coordination and the Council’s role in providing political and strategic guidance, questions still linger about how civil society organisations can influence national implementation plans and ensure adequate human rights protection.


The EU Asylum and Migration Pact was passed; however, there are still many issues and concerns with how Europe is handling the migration crisis. Despite being a significant step forward for European policy-making, the deal has faced strong criticism from a range of political groups and civil society organisations, underscoring the profound divisions and tensions inside the EU.


Political parties on the far right and far left have opposed the agreement. The far-left denounces the agreement as a betrayal of European ideals and claims it puts political expediency before compassion and human decency, while far-right groups claim the agreement is not strict enough and call for more drastic measures to stop immigration.


The accord continues to face opposition, even in the European Parliament, where it was eventually approved by a majority. This indicates a wider disagreement concerning the agreement’s consequences. More than 160 rights organisations have expressed concerns about the pact’s potential to worsen human suffering, erode safeguards, and lead to widespread rights violations. The main source of these worries is the agreement’s fast-tracked border procedures and deportation clauses, which run the risk of depriving asylum applicants of thorough evaluations of their claims and raise the possibility of deportations without due process.


There are moral and practical concerns with the pact’s emphasis on externalising migration regulations, including agreements with non-EU nations to accept asylum claimants. The idea that asylum is a fundamental human right is undermined by the labelling of some nations as “safe” for asylum seekers and the taking of biometric data from children as young as six. These actions highlight the possibility of violations of human rights.


The pact’s journey has been made more difficult by political calculations, as national party delegations have to navigate domestic political realities that frequently deviate from EU-level agreements. A further degree of difficulty has been introduced by the prospect of upcoming elections, with mainstream parties praising the agreement as a safeguard against far-right populism while still battling internal dissension throughout its implementation.


The real test will come from how well legislation is implemented rather than how much legislation is passed, as Europe struggles to handle migration. Experts remain quite skeptical about the viability and effectiveness of the agreement, especially in light of its reliance on shared duties in an inherently complex system. The tragic deaths off the coast of Greece highlight the need for comprehensive, rights-based solutions to this complex issue and serve as a sobering reminder of the human cost of migration.


A contentious discussion has been triggered by the newly agreed EU refugee and migration pact as the European Union struggles with the complexity of its immigration and refugee policies. The agreement has drawn a lot of criticism from a range of sources, despite its stated goals of expediting asylum procedures, facilitating the repatriation of irregular migrants, and establishing a shared responsibility framework among member states.


Concerns have been raised over the possibility of human rights breaches and the weakening of legal protections for asylum seekers due to the agreement’s provisions for speedier border processes and expedited deportations.


The notion of the “fiction of non-entry” and the potential for extended imprisonment compromise the essential rights and safeguards enjoyed by refugees and migrants.


Furthermore, the pact’s emphasis on externalising border restrictions and deportation agreements with third countries reinforces a narrative of securitisation and deterrence, potentially leading to increased human rights violations and eroding the notion of refuge as a basic human right.


To remedy these problems, we must push for a rights-based approach to migration governance that promotes human dignity, fairness, and due process. This approach should be based on the principles of non-discrimination, non-refoulement, and the prohibition of arbitrary detention. A rights-based approach should also ensure that asylum seekers receive fair and comprehensive assessments of their claims, as well as competent legal counsel and interpreting assistance. Biometric data gathering should be limited to legitimate reasons and subject to tight protections. It should also be limited to legitimate objectives and accompanied by stringent measures to preserve individual privacy and avoid misuse.


The pact’s mandated solidarity mechanism should be reinforced to ensure true responsibility sharing among member governments. This could include implementing obligatory relocation procedures and providing necessary financial and logistical help to member states that host a disproportionate number of asylum seekers.


Furthermore, the agreement should be updated to stress the integration and inclusion of migrants and refugees in host communities. This might include investments in language education, vocational training, and job prospects, as well as campaigns to condemn xenophobia and promote intercultural conversation. The pact’s implementation should be closely coordinated with civil society organisations, human rights groups, and international partners. These stakeholders should be given a significant voice in the formulation of national implementation plans, as well as the ability to monitor and report on human rights breaches.


International collaboration should also be expanded to address the underlying causes of displacement, such as violence, poverty, and climate change. This could include expenditures in development aid, conflict settlement, and climate change adaptation in the nations of origin and transit.


In sum, the EU Asylum and Migration Pact is a significant step forward in European migration policy, but it also emphasises the need for a more comprehensive and rights-based approach. By promoting human dignity, fairness, and due process, as well as encouraging true responsibility-sharing and international cooperation, the EU may establish a more effective and compassionate response to migration and asylum issues.



Source: theowp.org

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