Pushbacks and Rights Violations at European Borders
A Europe-wide trend which must be brought to an end
In response to inward migration and the arrival of prospective asylum seekers, a disconcerting Europe-wide trend has emerged over recent years: the systematic use of ‘pushbacks’ at internal and external borders. These pushback operations frequently involve serious human rights violations against prospective asylum seekers and multiple breaches of international and European Law.
Pushbacks not a new phenomenon and have been observed and documented across Europe by human rights organisations for several years. The practice can be understood as arising largely from the lack of implementation of the European Union’s values and rules and sometimes inconsistency in such implementation. This Europe-wide trend must be brought to an end. We must ensure a rights-compliant, lawful and humane approach to asylum and migration.
The change we seek
With the aim of ending illegal pushbacks and rights violations at Europe’s borders, our vision of the European response to inward migration and the continued arrival of prospective asylum seekers reads as follows:
- The European response to asylum and migration must be directed towards sustainable solutions upholding individuals’ access to asylum and in full compliance with international and European human rights and refugee law. Such response implies that displaced people can access Europe in a safe and dignified way. Expanding legal channels to the EU is therefore necessary, both for people in need of international protection and for people desperately striving for a better future.
- People always have, and always will, travel to Europe by their own means and without necessarily being in possession of the required paperwork: these people are rights holders under international and European human rights and refugee law. European border management must guarantee those rights under all circumstances: when enforced by Member States or the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, to ensure that individuals are treated in a humane and rights-compliant manner.
- Ultimately, asylum and migration policies should be managed in a humane, responsible and consistent manner as other policy areas within the European Union acquis, and in a less politicised and ‘haphazard’ way. This includes the elaboration and implementation of a sustainable and systematic responsibility sharing mechanism involving all Member States.