EU Must Protect the Rights of All Migrants Arriving from North Africa

(Brussels, 23 February 2011) – In the wake of upheaval that has prompted thousands of Tunisians and others to cross the Mediterranean, JRS Europe calls on the EU and its member states to respect and uphold the rights of all migrants who arrive on European shores.

JRS Europe has urged EU member states to set up a mechanism to receive migrants who arrive at the southern borders. One possibility would be to relocate persons needing protection to other member states, while temporarily suspending Dublin II transfers of asylum seekers to Italy and Malta. Another possibility would be to activate the EU “Mass Influx Directive” (Directive 2001/55/EC) so as to grant temporary protection and reception conditions to arriving persons.

In a letter to the Hungarian Presidency of the EU, JRS Europe insists that migrants should not be turned away at sea, and that persons who need protection be given access to an asylum procedure. “Nobody should be automatically detained or in any other way deprived of his or her liberty.

“Reception conditions and details of asylum procedures must meet at least the minimum standards set out in relevant EU law.”

In a press statement, Centro Astalli (JRS Italy) called on the Italian government to “assume its responsibilities towards their neighbours who are experiencing an urgent humanitarian crisis.”

Fr Giovanni La Manna, director of Centro Astalli, states: “There is much to do on every level – but firstly to ensure the reception and respect for the rights of migrants who are continuously arriving on our shores.”



Jesuit Refugee Service Europe - Rue du Progrès (Vooruitgangstraat) 333/2 - B-1030 Bruxelles - Belgium
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