100 NGOs press EU leaders on Africa migrant plan

2016-06-27 18:31
Migrants aboard a dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea wait to be rescued. (Bram Janssen, AP)

Migrants aboard a dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea wait to be rescued. (Bram Janssen, AP)

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Brussels - A group of over 100 NGOs on Monday called on EU leaders to reject proposals to tie giving funds to African countries to their efforts to stop migrants heading for Europe.

"The European Union is set to open a dark chapter in its history," the 109 rights, development and medical agencies including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said.

Under the proposals put forward by the European Commission earlier this month, the EU aims to promote private investment in countries from which most migrants are coming.

The aim is to boost their economies so that people will not try to come to Europe. The Commission also wants to speed up readmission deals to make it easier to send migrants back.

EU leaders are set to review the proposals made by the Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, at a summit in Brussels on Tuesday.

They echo a controversial migration deal between the EU and Turkey signed in March.

The non-governmental organisations said that the EU "risks torpedoing human rights in its foreign policy, and undermining the right to asylum internationally".

"There are no safeguards envisaged to ensure that human rights, rule of law standards and protection mechanisms are in place when the EU strikes deals with governments it deems useful for stopping migration to Europe," they said.

"This leaves a very real risk of breach of international law which forbids push-backs to places where people are at risk of rights violations," the statement added.

The mooted arrangements are inspired by a deal between the EU and Turkey that has left "thousands of people stranded in Greece in inhumane and degrading conditions", it said.

Read more on:    ai  |  hrw  |  eu  |  turkey  |  migrants

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