Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, described first-hand evidence of the experiences of migrants and called on the European Commission and Council for action based on first-hand evidence: “Recently I went on a delegation to the Balkans, along with others from GUE/NGL. We saw what the people who are fleeing have been through there and we heard about the police brutality in Bulgaria – these are conditions nobody should have to endure.”

“I question the Commission and Council: What are you going to do to stop this? Is it ok that the police of member states rob refugees and use violence? Will you continue just turning your backs? Are you going to call on member states to stop using the conditions in the Dublin regulation on young people who have been subject to this kind of violence?

“I want a specific answer, because if you don't do anything, then instead of providing protection we will simply continue the violence and trauma that these people have endured – which nobody should have to experience,” Björk demanded.

Irish MEP, Martina Anderson, commented: “The EU is complicit in serious human rights abuses. Yesterday Amnesty International published a report condemning how Turkey has unlawfully apprehended, detained and pressurised refugees and asylum seekers. Hungary and Bulgaria are no better.”

“Refugees are people like you and me who, along with their children, are fleeing desperate conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa – conflicts made worse by the bombs of member states.

“Offering simple, safe and legal routes and de-escalating conflicts will help to alleviate the conflicts and the crisis.”

Italian MEP, Barbara Spinelli, criticised the lack of regard for the law: “Reading the Commission's communication on Italian hotspots, Rome should provide a legal basis for lengthy detentions and the use of force in taking fingerprints. Legal experts say that it's difficult to achieve this without violating two articles of the constitution.”

“In Italy, forced returns are also taking place, even when a judge has suspended repatriation. The Danish government will be confiscating refugees' jewellery in order to 'pay for their costs'.

“These measures are being put forward as something that is necessary in an emergency in order to save Schengen, while [legal principles and rights such as] non-refoulement, habeas corpus and non-coercive measures on vulnerable people or minors are all going by the wayside. We cannot restrict our actions to repressive measures when the Charter and the Treaties impose more binding human rights clauses.”

Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, added: “The European Union, however, needs to protect its statutory values, that is to say fundamental rights and the rule of law, and condemn violations of them no matter who carries out these violations.”

“While we must protect our external borders against criminal activity, at the same time we must also protect fundamental rights.”


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh  +32 473 84 23 20

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