Tagarchief: Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Poland-Belarus border crisis/Letter to the EU/”EU’s human obligations against the refugees”

Een Koerdische familie uit Irak wacht met zestien leden uit drie generaties op de grenswachten. Al acht keer werden ze teruggestuurd naar Wit-Rusland, waarbij ze klappen kregen en door honden gebeten werden. Foto Wojtek Radwanski / AFP

Voertuigen die zich nabij de grens begeven worden streng gecontroleerd. Foto Marko Djurica / Reuters

Achtergebleven spullen van migranten in de bossen. Velen van hen krijgen met geweld en intimidatie te maken. Foto Marko Djurica / Reuters

Ondertussen proberen hulporganisaties de migranten waar mogelijk te helpen. Hier sorteert een Poolse vrijwilligster gedoneerde kleding in een brandweerkazerne. Foto Kacper Pempel / Reuters

Activisten van de Poolse ngo Grupa Granica houden foto’s omhoog van gestrande migranten, met de oproep hen hulp te bieden. Foto Marko Djurica / Reuters

Oekraïense nationalisten houden borden en flares omhoog in protest tegen de komst van migranten voor de Poolse ambassade in Kiev. Foto Sergei Supinsky / AFP

Medici verzorgen een gewonde migrant, terwijl anderen verderop door de Poolse politie worden ingerekend. De Poolse premier Mateusz sprak onlangs van „een brute schending van onze oostelijke grens (…) de ergste in dertig jaar”. Foto Woitek Radwanski / AFP

Migranten drommen samen om noodpakketten te ontvangen van de Wit-Russische krijgsmacht. Foto Stringer / EPA

Een migrant draagt zijn ontvangen noodrantsoen weg van het uitdeelpunt van het Wit-Russische leger. Veel migranten verblijven in het grensgebied onder erbarmelijke omstandigheden. Foto Stringer / EPA

Poolse militairen en politieagenten staan rechts paraat langs de grens met Wit-Rusland, terwijl links migranten te zien zijn in hun geïmproviseerde kampementen.

POLAND-BELARUS BORDER CRISIS/LETTER TO THE EU/”EU’S HUMAN OBLIGATIONS AGAINST THE REFUGEES, WHO ARE TRAPPED BETWEENTHE POLAND-BELARUS BORDER”

TO MRS Y JOHANSSONEU COMMISSIONER  FOR HOME AFFAIRSRelating her responsibility for Migration and Asylum
Subject:The Poland Belarus crisis on migrants:Eu’s obligations regarding universal human rights

Dear Mrs Johansson,[When you are pressed with time, just read the last piece”EU’s obligations”]

I am greatly concerned about EU’s recent attitude against refugees, who are trapped in the border between Poland and BelarusFirstly the EU waited months after months and allowing Poland to close andmilitarize its borders against those refugees, thus violating their right on asylum,violating their universal human rights by letting them try to survive in the freezingcold and, to add insult to injury, pushing them back from the border, fully knowing that push-backs are against International Law. [1]As a consequence, at least thirteen refugees died. [2]Instead of immediately demanding of Poland, to refrain from violatinghuman rights and giving those refugees entrance to Poland, all the EUdid was express solidarity with Poland and also denying the refugees their right to asylum:I quote from the statement from EU president, mrs von der Leyen, from 8th november 2021:”Finally, the Commission will explore with the UN and its specialised agencies how to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding and to ensure that migrants can be safely returned to their country of origin, with the support of their national authorities.” [3] That’s inhuman.
In her report ”Die Here or Go to Poland”, Human Rights Watch wrote among else:”Polish authorities should immediately halt all summary returns and collective expulsions to Belarus and stop all abuse by Polish officials of migrants. The government of Poland should also immediately allow humanitarian and other civil society organizations access to the area currently restricted under the state of emergency order for the purposes of saving lives. Journalists and other monitors should also be permitted access.” [4]Poland is a EU member and should apply toEU rules, among else consolidated in the Charter’for Fundamental Rights of the EU Union [5],in which the right to asylum is granted [article 18] [6] and pushbacks are forbidden [article 18, article 19,EU Charter of Fundamental Rights] [7]
As long as Poland is an EU member, Poland has to conduct according toEU rules!And it is the EU task to remember Poland of its obligations.
PROPOSAL OF THE EU COMMISSION FROM1 DECEMBER 2021
Not only that has not happened, now the EU Commission did proposals in the favour of Poland.Latva and Lithuania taking ”exceptional measures”I refer to the recent Statement from 1 december 2021, calling for measures of an ”of an extraordinary and exceptional nature” [8]
According to my information from Amnesty International,EU Commission proposals ”normalize dehumanisationof asylum seekers” [9]
Amnesty International writes among else:
”“The arrival of people at the EU’s borders with Belarus is entirely manageable with the rules as they stand. Today’s proposals will further punish people for political gain, weaken asylum protections, and undermine the EU’s standing at home and abroad. If the EU can allow a minority of member states to throw out the rule book due to the presence of a few thousand people at its border, it throws out any authority it has on human rights and the rule of law.

“The current situation at the EU’s borders with Belarus is being used by some countries as an excuse to weaken protections of asylum-seekers and push their anti-migrant agenda. Holding asylum seekers in detention for four months, without the protection standards required by international law, is normalising de facto unlawful detention at the EU’s external borders.” [10]

That’s clear language and I have nothing to add to this

EU’S OBLIGATION

Summarizing:

During the Poland-Belarus crisis on migrants,

all the EU really did was to express solidarity

with Poland, thus encouraging Poland in it’s 

unlawful policy of denying the right to asylum and

practising illegal pushbacks and, to add insult

to injury, letting vulnerable refugee freezing in the cold,

without adequate provisions.

With this the EU has violated her own rules of

humanity, right to asylum and the prohibition

of pushbacks.

So it’s time, the EU acts again in accordance with it’s own Charter and Laws and not proposing ”extraordinary

measures” [11] which violate it’s own rules.

So I call the EU to require from Poland to admit the

refugees and give them a proper asylum procedure,

according to human rights and stop pushing them back.

Of course Belarus bears responsibility too for the

existing situation [12], but that doesn’t excuse

the EU from practising their own rules of

humanitarian protection of refugees, which is formally established in the EU Law.

Return to your own Laws and Charters, EU and stop

dehumanizing refugees.

That’s all I ask.

Kind regards

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam 

The Netherlands

NOTES[1]

HUMAN RIGHTSHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FORBORDER ABUSES

https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

[2]

”At least 13 people have died in the area in recent weeks, most due to exposure.”

THE GUARDIAN

ONE YEAR OLD SYRIAN CHILD DIES

IN FOREST ON POLAND-BELARUS BORDER

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/18/one-year-old-syrian-child-dies-in-forest-on-poland-belarus-border

[3]

EU SOLIDARITY WITH POLAND:

”I have spoken to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš to express the EU’s solidarity and discuss with them the measures the EU can take to support them in their efforts to deal with this crisis.”

STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN ON

THE SITUATION AT THE BORDER BETWEEN

POLAND AND BELARUS

8 NOVEMBER 2021

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_21_5867

EU, NOT RESPECTING THE RIGHT ON ASYLUM:

”’Finally, the Commission will explore with the UN and its specialised agencies how to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding and to ensure that migrants can be safely returned to their country of origin, with the support of their national authorities.”

STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN ON

THE SITUATION AT THE BORDER BETWEEN

POLAND AND BELARUS

8 NOVEMBER 2021

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_21_5867

FULL TEXT:

Belarus must stop putting people’s lives at risk.

The instrumentalisation of migrants for political purposes by Belarus is unacceptable.

The Belarusian authorities must understand that pressuring the European Union in this way through a cynical instrumentalisation of migrants will not help them succeed in their purposes.

I have spoken to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš to express the EU’s solidarity and discuss with them the measures the EU can take to support them in their efforts to deal with this crisis.

I am calling on Member States to finally approve the extended sanctions regime on the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack.

Vice-President Schinas, in coordination with High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, will travel in the coming days to the main countries of origin and of transit to ensure that they act to prevent their own nationals from falling into the trap set by the Belarusian authorities.

The EU will in particular explore how to sanction, including through blacklisting, third country airlines that are active in human trafficking.

Finally, the Commission will explore with the UN and its specialised agencies how to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding and to ensure that migrants can be safely returned to their country of origin, with the support of their national authorities.

[4]HUMAN RIGHTSHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORTSUMMARY”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FORBORDER ABUSES

https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

[5]

CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

[6]

Article 18 Right to asylum 
The right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community.
CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

[7]
Article 18 Right to asylum 
The right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community.
CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

Article 19 Protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition 
1. Collective expulsions are prohibited. 2. No one may be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

”Notwithstanding any changes to Polish law, Poland’s pushbacks without due process violate EU law including the Charter of Fundamental Rights.[25] The Charter guarantees the right to asylum and standard international refugee law practice, under which any expression of intent to seek asylum should promptly be forwarded to the competent authorities for assessment based on the person’s individual grounds for seeking asylum.[26]

HUMAN RIGHTSHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FORBORDER ABUSES
POLISH LEGISLATION & VIOLATION OF EU LAW
https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

Polish pushback practices are also in violation of article 19 of the Charter and Protocol 4 of the ECHR, which both state unequivocally that collective or mass expulsions of aliens are prohibited.[28]

HUMAN RIGHTSHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FORBORDER ABUSES
POLISH LEGISLATION & VIOLATION OF EU LAW
https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses
[8]
ASYLUM AND RETURN: COMMISSION PROPOSES TEMPORARY LEGALAND PRACTICAL MEASURES TO ADDRESS THE EMERGENCY SITUATIONAT THE EU’S EXTERNAL BORDER WITH BELARUS1 DECEMBER 2021
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_6447

TEXT

The Commission is today putting forward a set of temporary asylum and return measures to assist Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in addressing the emergency situation at the EU’s external border with Belarus. The measures will allow these Member States to set up swift and orderly processes to manage the situation, in full respect of fundamental rights and international obligations, including the principle of non-refoulement. The proposal follows the invitation by the European Council for the Commission to propose any necessary changes to the EU’s legal framework and concrete measures underpinned by adequate financial support to ensure an immediate and appropriate response in line with EU law and international obligations, including the respect of fundamental rights. The measures, based on Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, will enter into force after their adoption by the Council. The European Parliament will be consulted. The measures will remain in force for a period of 6 months.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “In the past weeks, we have managed to bring the EU’s collective weight to bear in face of the hybrid attack directed at our Union. Collectively, the EU made clear that attempts to undermine our Union will only solidify our solidarity with one another.  Today we are giving living manifestation to that solidarity: in the form of a set of temporary and exceptional measures that will equip Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with the means needed to respond to these extraordinary circumstances in a controlled and swift manner and to operate in conditions of legal certainty.”

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Although the EU’s intense efforts have brought rapid results, the situation remains delicate. Today, to protect our borders, and to protect people, we are giving flexibility and support to Member States to manage this emergency situation, without compromising on human rights. This should allow the Member States in question to fully uphold the right to asylum and align legislation with EU acquis. It’s also time limited and targeted. To make our response to hybrid threats future-proof, we activate the EU’s formidable diplomatic and legal capacity, to apply sanctions and persuade third countries to stop flights. We will soon propose a reform of the Schengen rules. Making progress now on the Pact on Migration and Asylum is essential.”

Provisional measures proposed

The measures included in this proposal are of an extraordinary and exceptional nature. They will apply for a period of 6 months, unless extended or repealed, and will apply to non-EU nationals who have irregularly entered the EU from Belarus and are at the vicinity of the border or those who present themselves at border crossing points. The main elements of the proposal are:

Emergency migration and asylum management procedure at the external borders:

  • The 3 Member States will have the possibility to extend the registration period for asylum applications to 4 weeks, instead of the current 3 to 10 days. The Member States may also apply the asylum procedure at the border to process all asylum claims, including the appeal, within a maximum of 16 weeks – except where adequate support for applicants with particular health issues cannot be provided. In doing so, well-founded claims and those of families and children should be prioritised.
  • Material reception conditions: Member States focus reception conditions on the covering of basic needs, including temporary shelter adapted to the seasonal weather conditions, food, water, clothing, adequate medical care, and assistance to vulnerable persons, in full respect of human dignity. It is important that Member States ensure close cooperation with UNHCR and relevant partner organisations to support individuals in this emergency situation.
  • Return procedure: Member States concerned will be able to apply simplified and quicker national procedures including for the return of people whose applications for international protection have been rejected in this context.

All procedures carried out in line with this proposal must respect fundamental rights and specific guarantees provided for by EU law, including the best interests of the child, emergency health care and needs of vulnerable people, the use of coercive measures and detention conditions.

Practical support and cooperation:

  • Support from EU agencies: EU agencies stand ready to help the Member States on request. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) can help register and process applications, ensure screening of vulnerable people and support the management, design and putting in place of adequate reception. Further Frontex support is available for border control activities, including screening and return operations. Support from Europol is also available to provide intelligence to counter smuggling.
  • Continued cooperation: The Commission, the Member States and EU Agencies will continue their cooperation, including an obligation on the Member States to continue reporting relevant data and statistics via the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Management Network.

The Commission will regularly reassess the situation and may propose to the Council to prolong or repeal these provisional measures.

Next steps

Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU states that after consulting the European Parliament, the Council may adopt provisional measures for the benefit of the Member States concerned. This happens by qualified majority vote. Once agreed by the Council, in view of the urgency of the situation, this Decision should enter into force the day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

Background  

Since the summer, the Lukashenko regime and its supporters have initiated a hybrid attack on the EU, especially Lithuania, Poland and Latvia, which have experienced an insidious new threat in the form of the instrumentalisation of desperate people.

In October 2021, the European Council invited the Commission to propose any necessary changes to the EU’s legal framework to respond to the state-sponsored instrumentalisation of people at the EU’s external border with Belarus. Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for the adoption of provisional measures in emergency migratory situations at the EU’s external borders.

Today’s proposal is the latest in a series of coordinated EU actions that include: targeted measures for transport operators that facilitate or engage in smuggling; diplomatic and external action; stepping up humanitarian assistance and support for border and migration management.

This proposal is in line with the comprehensive approach set out in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. It complements the Schengen Borders Code and the upcoming Schengen reform, in which the Commission intends to propose a permanent framework for addressing possible situations of instrumentalisation that may still confront the Union in the future.

Financing of this proposal will be accommodated within the budget of the existing EU funding instruments under the period 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 in the field of migration, asylum and border management. Where exceptionally necessary, if the situation aggravates further, the flexibility mechanisms within the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 could be used.

For More Information

Proposal for a Council Decision on provisional emergency measures for the benefit of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland

Communication: Responding to state-sponsored instrumentalisation of migrants at the EU external border

[9]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALEU ”EXCEPTIONAL MEASURES” NORMALIZE DEHUMANISATION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS’1 DECEMBER 2021
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/press-release/2021/12/eu-exceptional-measures-normalize-dehumanization-of-asylum-seekers/

In response to today’s proposals from the European Commission which would allow Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to derogate from EU rules, including by holding asylum-seekers and migrants at the border for 16 weeks with minimal safeguards, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s European Office said:

“The arrival of people at the EU’s borders with Belarus is entirely manageable with the rules as they stand. Today’s proposals will further punish people for political gain, weaken asylum protections, and undermine the EU’s standing at home and abroad. If the EU can allow a minority of member states to throw out the rule book due to the presence of a few thousand people at its border, it throws out any authority it has on human rights and the rule of law.

“The current situation at the EU’s borders with Belarus is being used by some countries as an excuse to weaken protections of asylum-seekers and push their anti-migrant agenda. Holding asylum seekers in detention for four months, without the protection standards required by international law, is normalising de facto unlawful detention at the EU’s external borders.

“Asylum rules should be upheld, not allowed to be side-stepped by countries via so-called exceptional measures. Amnesty International is alarmed that the proposal will violate people’s rights, and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis at borders while continuing to expose the EU to further internal and external manipulation and blackmailing.

“While Lukashenka’s mistreatment and instrumentalization of migrants and asylum seekers is deplorable, he is exploiting the EU’s own tendency to treat people at their borders as a threat.

“At least 10 people, including a one-year-old child, have died at the EU’s Eastern borders in recent weeks. Today the European Commission is bringing in measures which undermine rights and normalize the dehumanization and suffering of people at the EU’s borders.”

END OF STATEMENT

[10]AMNESTY INTERNATIONALEU ”EXCEPTIONAL MEASURES” NORMALIZE DEHUMANISATION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS’1 DECEMBER 2021
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/press-release/2021/12/eu-exceptional-measures-normalize-dehumanization-of-asylum-seekers/

[11]AMNESTY INTERNATIONALEU ”EXCEPTIONAL MEASURES” NORMALIZE DEHUMANISATION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS’1 DECEMBER 2021
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/press-release/2021/12/eu-exceptional-measures-normalize-dehumanization-of-asylum-seekers/

[12]HUMAN RIGHTSHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FORBORDER ABUSES

https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

END OF NOTES

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Poland-Belarus border crisis/Letter to the EU/”EU’s human obligations against the refugees”

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