In January, Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis featured prominently on the World Financial Discussion board in Davos. Among the many varied subjects, he was requested to touch upon was migration. “Greece has most likely managed the migration downside higher than most different European nations,” he stated confidently in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest on the sidelines of the discussion board. “We received a powerful victory [in the elections] partly as a result of we succeeded in managing the migration by a tricky however truthful migration coverage.”
However this “powerful however truthful migration coverage” resulted within the demise of greater than 500 folks, together with 100 youngsters, in a single incident of a migrant boat sinking off the Greek coast close to Pylos on June 14. The Greek coastguard has been accused of inflicting what is taken into account one of many worst maritime disasters within the Mediterranean by making an attempt to tow the boat to Italian territorial waters.
The Greek authorities have denied duty and as a substitute arrested 9 of the survivors, blaming them for inflicting the shipwreck. As Mitsotakis headed for Davos, the investigation was closed and handed to the prosecution, after requests by the survivors’ attorneys to think about vital proof of their defence have been rejected.
The injustice and stunning disregard for human life on this story aren’t an aberration, however the end result of a coverage of systematic denial of safety and violation of the rights of refugees. And they’re additionally mirrored within the new migration pact the European Union has simply concluded.
The tragic tales of demise at European borders and the shortage of motion on them point out the route by which Europe is headed, united below a far-right “regulation and order” flag and racist anti-migrant insurance policies. It’s in the direction of a darkish future by which human rights will may come to an finish.
A racist EU migration pact
The difficulty of migration has all the time been a helpful political software and one of many cornerstones of the far proper in Europe. However up to now decade, the remainder of the political spectrum has additionally more and more instrumentalised and regularly adopted it in a determined try to enhance declining electoral fortunes. In consequence, European migration insurance policies have taken a pointy flip to the suitable, reflecting increasingly more intently the far proper’s racist agenda and a rhetoric of exclusion of non-Europeans.
The brand new “Migration Pact” of the EU is a living proof. The European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional settlement on it 5 days earlier than Christmas. Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, known as it a “historic day”; human rights organisations known as it a “catastrophe”. On February 8, EU member states permitted it, and it’s now pending last formal endorsement by the EU Parliament and the European Council.
The rules that the pact will introduce will cowl all phases of the asylum course of: from screening asylum seekers upon arrival and assortment of biometric knowledge to guidelines for figuring out which member state is accountable for dealing with their purposes. The provisions, which are supposed to “essentially change how we take care of migration and asylum”, nevertheless, comprise quite a few gaps which permit for abuse and additional strengthening of violent insurance policies at EU borders.
Rights organisations have identified that the pact can usher within the detention of asylum seekers, together with households with youngsters, in prison-like services; result in extra violence by border authorities; and permit deportation to unsafe third nations.
It won’t present a protected and dignified path to the asylum-seeking process that would save lives and it’ll not stop tragedies just like the Pylos shipwreck from repeating. As an alternative, as Amnesty Worldwide notes, the brand new pact will end in “a surge in struggling on each step of an individual’s journey to hunt asylum” in Europe.
Moreover, nations like Poland and Hungary have rejected the relocation mechanism, below which they must settle for refugees. The pact offers them the choice choice to pay 20,000 euros ($21,550) per refugee; in different phrases, they’ll pay their approach out of their obligations below European and worldwide regulation.
This implies not solely that there will likely be a good heavier burden placed on nations on the EU’s exterior borders, however that primary authorized norms on the safety of refugees are being eroded.
A darkish future for Fortress Europe
General, the migration pact displays a bent throughout the EU to shrink the scope of worldwide regulation to the purpose the place it turns into irrelevant to these whom it was created to guard.
Failing to place in place a typical European asylum system with clear guidelines and rules, not lifting the strain from entrance nations, additional militarising border management, and outsourcing the issue of migration to 3rd nations mirror the EU’s persevering with effort to dodge its obligations below worldwide regulation in the direction of asylum seekers.
The long-term impact of ignoring and downplaying worldwide authorized norms is the potential collapse of the worldwide worldwide system, which might imply the top of the human rights regime as we all know it.
One other disturbing facet of Europe’s migration pact asylum coverage is that it discriminates between folks looking for asylum. The EU introduced that its provisions won’t apply to Ukrainian refugees. In different phrases, Brussels formally applies worldwide regulation selectively; it brazenly declares that folks of a sure race are deserving of a pathway to security and others aren’t.
That is all of the extra egregious contemplating that the migration pact is supposed to maintain away folks fleeing battle and different crises in Africa and the Center East, which European nations are sometimes straight concerned in.
By clearly and formally discriminating between who’s deserving of a protected and authorized route of asylum-seeking and migration and who isn’t, the EU is setting a harmful precedent. Discrimination over the suitable to request safety below worldwide regulation and the allocation of various rights for various teams opens the door to authorized apartheid.
It seems the EU has appointed itself because the arbiter of who has the suitable to life and dignity and who doesn’t. That is obvious in its response to the battle in Gaza as nicely.
Europe has turned a blind eye to the accusations of genocide in Gaza, as European nations proceed promoting weapons to Israel and parroting its outrageous argument about “its proper to self-defence” from a inhabitants it occupies.
You will need to notice right here that among the many most fervent pro-Israeli forces in Europe is the far proper which is utilizing the battle in Gaza to push its agenda, promote concepts of cultural battle, and whitewash its anti-Semitism.
Help for the far proper is surging in Europe and that’s not due to “unlawful migration” as some EU officers, like Ylva Johansson, commissioner for residence affairs, have claimed. It’s as a result of European “centrist conservatives”, like Mitsotakis, have embraced the far proper’s agenda for their very own slender political and financial pursuits.
It will definitely be mirrored within the upcoming European parliamentary elections scheduled for June.
If there is no such thing as a profound overhaul of the antihuman and inhumane route European politics and insurance policies are taking, the way forward for the EU appears to be like very darkish. Because it stands now, we’re on a straight path in the direction of a Europe the place the Viktor Orbáns, Geert Wilderss and Marine Le Pens could have a a lot stronger say about what’s on the agenda and what’s not.
The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.