Activists urge open borders
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.