While Ukrainian refugees are welcomed with open arms by the countries of the European Union, this is not the case for all migrants and refugees.

In a report published on Thursday, the Council of Europe denounces the "widespread" refoulement of "refugees, asylum seekers and migrants" at Europe's land and sea borders.

The phenomenon has grown and is said to have become a “systematic pan-European problem”.

Thus, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria or even France and Spain are strongly criticized for returning to the neighboring countries migrants trying to enter their territory.

The document is based on NGO reports which, for example, counted between 50 and 130 deportation procedures per day during the summer of 2020, and up to 170 in October of the same year, from France to Italy. in the Alpes-Maritimes department.

“Human Rights Violations”

This report also underlines that in certain countries, “the use of violence” against refugees is “serious and systematic”.

He criticizes the tendency of certain States to want to adopt laws legalizing refoulement measures.

"The current situation shows that serious human rights violations, which have become an essential element of member states' border control methods, are cruel, contradictory and counterproductive", underlined the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. 'Man, Dunja Mijatovic, in the introduction to the report.

The Commissioner pointed out the double standard with the "warm" welcome reserved for Ukrainians fleeing the war: the European countries which have opened their arms to them continue to push refugees of other nationalities outside their borders, "by creating false divisions” between the different groups, according to her.

Member States urged to “respect their obligations”

The Council of Europe, watchdog of human rights on the continent, therefore asks member states to put an end to these refoulements and to "respect their legal obligations" vis-à-vis refugees by not sending them back to the other side of the border "without an individualized procedure" or without "the right to an effective remedy".

It also requires states to put in place “rules of conduct” and “clear and mandatory standardized procedures” for authorities in charge of border control to treat refugees “in a manner consistent with human rights”.


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