Human Rights Violations Of Migrants in the EU


    The number of violations of the human rights of migrants in the European Union has increased in recent years. The EU Commission continues to finance the Libyan coastguard to keep migrants away from the EU’s borders. However, the return of migrants to Libya means serious human rights violations continue to occur. Moreover, incidents at the EU’s borders are increasing. Violence, ill-treatment, and illegal pushbacks are reported to happen regularly. 

    Key Judgement 1: In the next 6 months, it is highly likely that the EU will continue to finance Libya’s coastguard. 

    • Since 2017, the EU has trained and equipped the Libyan coastguard in order to keep migrants away from EU borders. Tens of thousands of migrants are intercepted every year by the Libyan authorities. The EU has already spent tens of millions of Euros to build the Libyan coastguard. In fact, it has supplied Libya with six fibreglass boats, dozens of four-wheel-drive vehicles, hundreds of uniforms, as well as communication equipment. [source]

    • The EU Commission intends to continue providing Libyan authorities with material support despite mass arrests, indiscriminate shootings, and acts that amount to crimes against humanity, as reported by the UN. Yet, the EU has denied any responsibility for facilitating migrants’ return to Libya, where they face torture, murder, rape and other inhumane treatment. [source]

    • With no government to control Libya’s borders, hundreds of thousands of migrants have tried to reach Europe from the country. In 2016, more than 162,000 people reached Italy from Libya. Since the EU has started to finance the Libyan coastguard, the number of migrants reaching Italy has fallen by 44% from 2017 to 2021. [source]

    Key Judgement 2: In the next six months, it is highly likely that human rights violations will continue to happen at the EU borders. 

    • The UN Refugee Agency has reported that the number of incidents of violence and serious human rights violations against migrants at EU borders is increasing. The agency reported that violence, ill-treatment, and illegal pushbacks are commonplace at land and sea borders. EU Member States fail to investigate such reports, despite a large amount of credible evidence. [source]

    • During the pandemic, EU states illegally pushed back at least 40,000 asylum seekers from the EU’s borders with methods that resulted in the deaths of at least 2,000 people. Moreover, over a third of pushbacks were accompanied by human rights violations. This includes denial of access to asylum-seeking procedures, physical abuse, and extortion. [source]

    • Moreover, states are legitimising these pushbacks through new legislation attempts. For instance, Poland has enacted a law that allows the expulsion of migrants entering illegally the country via the Polish-Belarusian border without examination. This is in violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, according to which, applications of people seeking asylum must always be examined. [source]

    Key Judgement 3: In the next 6 months, it is likely that the conditions in refugee camps will not improve.

    • Many immigration centres around Europe are overcrowded, leading to unhygienic and inhumane conditions in which COVID-19 hygiene and distancing rules are not followed. [source]

    • The Greek Island of Lesbos has become the symbol of Europe’s failed refugee policies. Human rights, documentation transparency, and adequate accommodation are not present in many Greek Islands as well as many other refugee camps around Europe. [source]

    • Despite the fact that the EU has provided more than 3 billion euros to maintain the migration facilities in Greece, conditions for refugees have not improved. There is no running water in many camps and power supplies are insufficient, with frequent circuit overloads causing fires. [source]

    Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 15th May 2022

    Arianna Sparviero
    Arianna Sparviero
    Arianna Sparviero is a graduate student at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is currently enrolled in the first year of the master course in International Affairs.

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