Montag, Juli 07, 2008


Refugee Rights

A rights-based approach to migration is needed if full integration in society is to be achieved. While I appreciate the European Commission proposal that both refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection should be able to gain long-term residency status in the EU, I strongly regret the resistance by some EU countries, such as Spain, Italy, Austria or the Czech Republic, to this approach.

EU countries should not apply double standards to human rights; they should allow migrants to benefit from civil rights as close as possible to those enjoyed by their citizens. In other words, migration policy should focus on integration based on mutual respect rather than on control.

Refugees tend to represent a diminishing part of the migrants. However, wars and new threats, such as climate change, may increase the number of displaced people who wish to migrate to Europe. In the fight against irregular immigration, some European countries do not always respect their international commitments towards refugees.

Migrant children are entitled to have the same rights as their national or resident counterparts, so they should be treated as children first and foremost, regardless of their migrant status. Unacceptable to keep them in detention.

Furthermore, rights should be granted while migrants await a decision on their status; quicker decision-making mechanisms regarding asylum are needed.

Minors are among the world’s most vulnerable populations and are at particular risk of abuse when they are separated from their parents and other care-givers.
As for the provisional agreement in the European Parliament that member states should be allowed to keep immigrants in detention for up to 18 months if there is a delay obtaining the necessary documentation from third countries, it should be noted that a few thousand minors are detained every year in Europe due to their irregular migration status, even though UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child states that detention shall only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time. European countries must ensure that the international and regional instruments protecting separated children and youth are fully implemented.

Migration in Europe affects a large number of aspects of the lives of young people, those who migrate and those who cohabitate with migrants.

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