Author: Florian Oel
At the EU mini-summit on migration in Brussels today, leaders agreed on the need to work together and suggested to focus on solutions that would stop the arrival of refugees to Europe, including cooperation with Libyan authorities.
Reacting to the news, Oxfam’s EU migration policy advisor, Raphael Shilhav, said:
“People who arrive in Europe in search of safety and support are met with barbed wire and brutality. They are trapped in overcrowded camps with insufficient basic services and at risk of violence and sexual abuse. This is unconscionable. Last week there was an outpouring of horror and disbelief in response to the inhumane policies in the United States which are tearing children from their families. Yet our own leaders continue to fail to agree a common European solution which would allow migrants to be treated with respect.
“The majority of leaders understand the need for a Europe-wide approach, but the rights of refugees and migrants should not be sacrificed for the sake of European unanimity. Instead, European leaders must reform the European asylum system so that it is based on responsibility shared between all member states, and puts people’s personal safety, needs and rights first.
“European governments continue to try and prevent people from reaching Europe. But we’ve already seen in the asylum centres in Europe – the so called ‘hotspots’ in Greece and Italy – that Europe cannot guarantee the safety and dignity of people in camps on its own soil – so how will it guarantee them outside the EU?
“The people leaving Libya are fleeing murder, torture and sexual abuse. Europe must not prevent people from escaping such atrocities by even greater cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, which is returning people in dire conditions in Libya.”