NGO calls on government to express opposition to maritime patrols and offshore detention of migrants
Doras, a non-governmental organization for migrants and human rights, called on the government to express its opposition to maritime patrols, the detention of refugees at sea and troops deployed on French beaches.
This follows the death of 27 people in the English Channel on Wednesday evening.
Doras, who is based in Limerick, called for “more coordinated and timely efforts to provide safe routes for people in need of international protection.”
“The desperation that drove the deceased to undertake such a perilous journey in dangerous small boats shows once again how much of a hostile environment Europe has become for those seeking safety and protection,” said Doras chief executive John Lannon in a statement.
âIt’s not just the English Channel; people fleeing oppression in Afghanistan, Syria and other parts of the world are losing their lives on other European borders, in the Mediterranean and on the border between Poland and Belarus, âhe said.
“Having fled war, persecution and violence, the trauma experienced in their home country is compounded by violent and potentially fatal experiences in Europe, often at the hands of the police,” Lannon continued.
âThe 1951 Refugee Convention was established in response to the urgent needs of refugees generated by World War II. Twenty years ago the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees described it as a timeless treaty under attack, âhe said.
âThis is more than ever the case, as people are increasingly forced to flee persecution, war and human rights violations and seek refuge in other countries. Governments have a duty to protect the fundamental rights of all people under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality and / or legal status. This includes access to asylum procedures, âhe said.
“Now is the time for Europe to honor the commitments made 70 years ago and to ensure an effective collective response to the conflict and the wars in progress,” said Lannon.
He cited a recent report from the UK Refugee Council which found that 98% of people crossing the Channel in unsafe conditions seek asylum.
âStates have the sovereign power to regulate entry. However, international law provides that measures to this effect cannot prevent people from seeking asylum, âLannon said.
âInstead of governments seeking to assign responsibility for the arrival of people who may be in need of international protection, they must work together to ensure safe routes,â he said.
âThere are a range of options available to them, including refugee resettlement, family reunification and complementary pathways that provide refugees with the opportunity to enter and settle in a country through mobility. workforce, education and other programs, âhe said.
âThe countries that have borne the brunt of the responsibility for protecting refugees in recent years are the least equipped to do so. These include countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Uganda which host millions of refugees, âhe said.
Lannon said Doras looked forward to Ireland’s Afghan admissions program announced in September, but was disappointed with the delay in its implementation.
âWe are in daily contact with members of the Afghan community in Ireland who are constantly concerned about the safety of their family members in Afghanistan and neighboring countries. We must not force them by our inaction to make decisions like those who died in the Channel, âhe said.
Evidence has shown that governments’ refusal or unwillingness to provide safe passage for people seeking refuge, while instead focusing their efforts on stopping smuggling activities, will continue to claim lives, he said.
Despite the fact that thousands of people have drowned in the Mediterranean, the crossings are not over, he noted.
âThe implementation of humanitarian admission programs can and will undermine those who seek to exploit refugees,â Lannon said.
The Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment on Doras’ statement.