Activists urge open bor­ders

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - METRO NEWS - TorsTar NeWs ser­vice

EuROPE Europe must re­sist the urge to seal its bor­ders to refugees and asy­lum seek­ers in the wake of the deadly at­tacks in Paris last week, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said to­day.

The hu­man rights group is call­ing for safe, le­gal routes for the refugees to reach Europe and ef­fi­cient screen­ing pro­cesses to al­low them to stay.

“Giv­ing in to fear in the wake of the atro­cious at­tacks on Paris will not pro­tect any­one,” John Dal­huisen, Amnesty’s di­rec­tor for Europe and Cen­tral Asia, said in a state­ment.

“The num­bers flee­ing per­se­cu­tion and con­flict have not gone away, nor has their en­ti­tle­ment to pro­tec­tion. In the wake of this tragedy, the fail­ure to ex­tend sol­i­dar­ity to peo­ple seek­ing shel­ter in Europe, of­ten af­ter flee­ing the very same kind of violence, would be a cow­ardly ab­di­ca­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity and a tragic vic­tory for terror over hu­man­ity.”

Ir­reg­u­lar ar­rivals into the Euro­pean Union to­taled about 500,000 in Septem­ber alone, com­pared to 280,000 in all of last year, Amnesty said in “Fear and Fences: Europe’s Ap­proach to Keep­ing Refugees at Bay.”

The re­port de­tails hu­man rights abuses and push-backs on the border be­tween Spain and North Africa, along the dan­ger­ous east­ern Mediter­ranean route via Tur­key and on the bor­ders of Mace­do­nia, Ser­bia and Hun­gary.

Euro­pean Union coun­tries have built more than 235 kilo­me­tres of fence along their bor­ders, Amnesty found.

A 23-year-old Pales­tinian refugee from Syria de­scribed be­ing held in a dirty po­lice cell in Greece be­fore be­ing sent back to Tur­key.

“I was shak­ing from hunger and one of my friends was look­ing really white. I got really an­gry and started shout­ing that they would be re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pened to us and that we needed food and wa­ter. The chil­dren hadn’t eaten for two days and nei­ther had we,” he said.

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