Joint NGO statement ahead of the European Council of 28-29 June 2016 NGOs strongly condemn new EU policies to contain migration

<p class="rtejustify">At the upcoming European Council, European Union (EU) leaders will discuss <strong>the European&nbsp;Commission’s Communication on a new Partnership Framework with third countries</strong>.The Communication proposes an approach which aims to leverage existing EU and Member&nbsp;States' external cooperation instruments and tools in order to stem migration to Europe. The&nbsp;undersigned organisations express their grave concern about the direction the EU is taking&nbsp;by making deterrence and return the main objective of the Union's relationship with third&nbsp;countries. More broadly, this new Partnership Framework risks cementing a shift towards a&nbsp;foreign policy that serves one single objective, to curb migration, at the expense of European&nbsp;credibility and leverage in defence of fundamental values and human rights.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">The proposed approach is inspired by the EU-Turkey deal which although touted as a&nbsp;successful example of cooperation, has actually left thousands people stranded in Greece in&nbsp;inhumane and degrading conditions. This has particularly affected children, with the result&nbsp;that hundreds of unaccompanied children have been held in closed detention facilities on the&nbsp;islands or forced to sleep in police cells on the Greek mainland. <strong>The wider repercussions&nbsp;of this should not be underestimated. It is hard to see how Europe can ask partner&nbsp;countries to keep their doors open, to host large-scale refugee populations and&nbsp;prevent further movements while at the same time Member States refuse to shoulder&nbsp;their fair share of responsibility for protecting people who flee their homes</strong>. The right&nbsp;to asylum is being significantly undermined, and it will become more and more challenging&nbsp;for civilians in conflict zones to seek international protection.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">The Commission's proposal ignores all the evidence on the ineffectiveness of deterrence&nbsp;strategies aimed at stopping migration. <strong>This approach will not only fail to “break the&nbsp;business-model” of smugglers but increase human suffering as people are forced&nbsp;into taking more dangerous routes. Moreover, despite the stated commitment to&nbsp;respect the principle of non-refoulement, there are no safeguards envisaged to ensure&nbsp;that human rights, rule of law standards and protection mechanisms are in place. As&nbsp;a result, people risk being deported to countries where their rights are not&nbsp;safeguarded</strong>. Responsibility and liability for human rights violations do not end at Europe’s&nbsp;borders.</p>

<p class="rtejustify"><strong>We are disappointed to see that once again the emphasis on deterrence leaves no&nbsp;clear commitments to open up safe and regular channels to Europe for those in need&nbsp;of international protection and for other migrants</strong>, e.g. through resettlement,&nbsp;humanitarian admission schemes, family reunification, educational visas, labour mobility and&nbsp;visa liberalisation. Resettlement, labour migration and visa liberalisation are only mentioned&nbsp;as possible leverage with partner countries in a quid pro quo approach.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">Another major concern is the financing of the proposed Partnership Framework which would&nbsp;represent a wholesale re-orientation of Europe’s development programming towards&nbsp;stopping migration. This is an unacceptable contradiction to the commitment to use&nbsp;development cooperation with the aim to eradicate poverty, as enshrined in the Lisbon&nbsp;Treaty. <strong>Aid is for the benefit of people in need, and should not be used as a leverage&nbsp;for migration control. EU funding should be transparent and adhere to clearly&nbsp;established principles, such as the Busan principles on effectiveness and the Paris&nbsp;principles of ownership by and alignment to partner countries’ strategies</strong>. In addition,&nbsp;striking ‘migration management’ agreements with countries where grave human rights&nbsp;violations are committed will be counter-productive in the longer term – undermining human&nbsp;rights around the globe and perpetuating the cycle of abuse and repression that causes&nbsp;people to flee.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">Migration has many drivers; people may be on the move in search of new livelihood&nbsp;opportunities, an education or to reunite with family, while conflict and violence, human rights&nbsp;violations, climate change, poverty and unemployment can all trigger migration and forced&nbsp;displacement. <strong>Any cooperation to manage migration should take into consideration&nbsp;this complex and multi-faceted reality, be evidence and needs-based, and ensure that&nbsp;the benefits of migration are maximised and the risks are mitigated.</strong></p>

<p><strong>If the EU wants to call for more global solidarity, it needs to set the right example.</strong> The&nbsp;EU, a project built on the rubble of a devastating war, is about to embark on a dark chapter&nbsp;of its history. We urge EU leaders to choose a rights-based system to manage migration,&nbsp;based on a viable long-term strategic vision, rather than pursuing an unattainable and&nbsp;inhumane deterrence objective and thereby abandoning its core founding principles.&nbsp;</p>

<p class="rtejustify"><strong>As human rights, humanitarian, medical, migration and development agencies, and&nbsp;key implementing partners of development programmes in third countries, we call on&nbsp;European leaders to:</strong></p>

<p class="rtejustify">1. Reject the current Commission Communication and develop a sustainable long-term&nbsp;and evidence-based strategy for migration management, in consultation with civil&nbsp;society and experts.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">2. Facilitate safe mobility by opening and strengthening safe and regular channels to&nbsp;Europe both for those in need of international protection and other migrants including&nbsp;through resettlement, humanitarian admission and humanitarian visas, family&nbsp;reunification, worker mobility across skill levels and student visas. Member States&nbsp;must commit to clear benchmarks and appropriate timelines for implementing a&nbsp;migration framework that meets the needs of migrants, asylum-seekers and&nbsp;refugees, their families, as well as the needs and obligations of Member States.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">3. Exclude any conditionality based on migration control indicators in the allocation of&nbsp;development aid to third countries. Development aid is a tool to fight poverty and&nbsp;inequality, not to manage migration. Vulnerable populations should not be punished&nbsp;because of concerns that are largely political.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">4. Stop any readmissions or removals of people by the EU to a third country that violate&nbsp;– or risk violating - fundamental rights and rule of law, including the principle of non-&nbsp;refoulement. Ensure access to protection, justice and effective remedy for all people&nbsp;in migration and asylum procedures.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">5. Ensure transparency in the development of any instruments to manage migration and&nbsp;accountability for human rights violations resulting from EU migration policies.</p>

<p class="rtejustify">6. Commit to a foreign policy and action focused on preventing and unlocking&nbsp;protracted crises. While the Communication mentions the need to address root&nbsp;causes of displacement in the long term, it does not include engagement to prevent&nbsp;and manage crises.</p>

<p>Signatories</p>

<p>1. ACT Alliance EU</p>

<p>2. ActionAid</p>

<p>3. aditus foundation</p>

<p>4. Afrique Culture Maroc</p>

<p class="rtejustify">5. Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Homme</p>

<p class="rtejustify">6. Aid Services</p>

<p>7. Amnesty International</p>

<p>8. Amycos</p>

<p>9. Andalucía Acoge</p>

<p>10. Asamblea de Cooperacion Por la Paz ACPP</p>

<p>11. Asgi - Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione</p>

<p>12. Asociacion por ti mujer</p>

<p>13. Asociacion Salud y Familia - Spain</p>

<p>14. Association for action against violence and trafficking in&nbsp;human beings-Open Gate La Strada Macedonia.</p>

<p>15. Association for the Social Support of Youth</p>

<p>16. Ayuda en Acción</p>

<p>17. British Refugee Council</p>

<p>18. CAFOD</p>

<p>19. Care International</p>

<p>20. CCOO de Andalucia</p>

<p>21. Centre for Youths Integrated Development.</p>

<p>22. Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos PROIGUAL</p>

<p>23. ChildFund Alliance</p>

<p>24. Church of Sweden</p>

<p>25. Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe</p>

<p>26. Citizens’ association for combating trafficking in human&nbsp;beings and all forms of gender-based violence</p>

<p>27. CNCD-11.11.11</p>

<p>28. Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado –CEAR-</p>

<p>29. Concern Worldwide</p>

<p>30. CONCORD Europe</p>

<p>31. CONCORD Sweden</p>

<p>32. Conseil des Béninois de France</p>

<p>33. Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations in the Czech</p>

<p>Republic</p>

<p>34. Coordinadora Andaluza de ONGD</p>

<p>35. Coordinadora Cantabra de ONGD</p>

<p>36. Coordinadora de ONGD de la Región de Murcia</p>

<p>37. Coordinadora de ONGD del Principado de Asturias</p>

<p>38. Coordinadora de ONGD España</p>

<p>39. Coordinadora de ONGD Navarra</p>

<p>40. Coordinadora Extremeña de ONGD</p>

<p>41. Coordinadora Gallega de ONGD</p>

<p>42. Coordinadora ONGD de Castilla y León</p>

<p>43. Coordinadora Valenciana de ONGD</p>

<p>44. Cordaid</p>

<p>45. Detention Action</p>

<p>46. Detention Forum</p>

<p>47. Doctors of the World International network</p>

<p>48. EU-CORD Network</p>

<p>49. Eurochild</p>

<p>50. EuroMed Rights</p>

<p>51. European Association for the Defence of Human Rights</p>

<p>52. European Council on Refugees and Exiles</p>

<p>53. European Youth Forum</p>

<p>54. Federación Aragonesa de ONGD</p>

<p>55. Federación de Asociaciones de Derechos Humanos</p>

<p>56. Federation of Christian NGOs in Italy</p>

<p>57. FIACAT</p>

<p>58. FIDH</p>

<p>59. FIZ advocacy and support for migrant women and victims of&nbsp;trafficking</p>

<p>60. Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen e.V.</p>

<p>61. Forum des Organisations de Solidarité Internationale issues&nbsp;des Migrations</p>

<p>62. Fundacion 1o de Mayo de Comisiones Obreras</p>

<p>63. Fundación Alianza por los Derechos, la Igualdad y la</p>

<p>Solidaridad Internacional –APS-</p>

<p>64. Greek Forum of Refugees</p>

<p>65. Habitat for Humanity International, Europe, Middle East and&nbsp;Africa</p>

<p>66. Handicap International</p>

<p>67. Human Rights Watch</p>

<p>68. Human Rights Without Frontiers</p>

<p>69. Instituto Sindical de Cooperación al Desarrollo –ISCOD-</p>

<p>70. InteRed</p>

<p>71. INTERSOS</p>

<p>72. Islamic Relief UK</p>

<p>73. Jesuit Refugee Service Europe.</p>

<p>74. Justice and Peace Netherlands</p>

<p>75. KISA-Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism</p>

<p>76. Koordinierungsstelle der Österreichischen Bischofskonferenz</p>

<p>für internationale Entwicklung und Mission</p>

<p>77. La Strada International</p>

<p>78. Lafede.cat - Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global</p>

<p>79. Le Monde des Possibles</p>

<p>80. Macedonian Young Lawyers Association</p>

<p>81. Menedék - Hungarian Association for Migrants</p>

<p>82. Migrant Voice UK</p>

<p>83. Migrants' Rights Network</p>

<p>84. Movimiento contra la Intolerancia</p>

<p>85. Movimiento por la Paz –MPDL-</p>

<p>86. Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre</p>

<p>87. Norwegian Refugee Council</p>

<p>88. Oxfam</p>

<p>89. PAX</p>

<p>90. Pax Christi International</p>

<p>91. PICUM-Platform for International Cooperation on&nbsp;Undocumented Migrants</p>

<p>92. Plan International EU office</p>

<p>93. Platform Minors in exile / Plate-forme Mineurs en exil /&nbsp;Platform Kinderen op de vlucht (Belgium)</p>

<p>94. Red Acoge</p>

<p>95. Réseau de Compétences Solidaires - Groupement</p>

<p>d'Economie Sociale et Solidaire France - Europe - Afrique</p>

<p>96. Réseau Immigration Développement Démocratie - IDD</p>

<p>97. Save the Children</p>

<p>98. SOS Children’s Villages International</p>

<p>99. SOS Racisme – Touche pas à mon pote</p>

<p>100. Stichting LOS</p>

<p>101. Swedish Refugee Advice Centre</p>

<p>102. Télécoms Sans Frontières</p>

<p>103. Terre des Hommes International Federation</p>

<p>104. The International Federation of Social Workers European</p>

<p>Region</p>

<p>105. The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture victims</p>

<p>106. The Norwegian Centre Against Racism</p>

<p>107. Trócaire</p>

<p>108. World Vision Brussels and EU Representation</p>

<p>109. ZOA</p>