Tech & Rights

Segregation of Refugees: Passage Only for the Chosen Ones

Imposing stricter refugee entry requirements – allowing passage only for individuals from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – is a serious blow to human rights and the rule of law.

by Danela Žagar

The “Welcome!” initiative warns that the segregation of refugees from so-called war zones from all other refugees is unacceptable because:

  • Economic migration is inseparable from the political causes: the perennial destabilization of the Middle East, North Africa and neighboring regions is a product of US foreign policy and the colonial policies of developed EU member countries.
  • There are no nationalities which can be qualified for international protection, because the international asylum system is designed in a way to primarily examine individually established fears of prosecution and, only secondarily, serious injustice, especially war. Citizens of countries that have received protection in the EU this year, such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, are now no longer able to request protection.
  • It is intolerable to return refugees to countries like Greece, which does not have the capacity to provide them protection, as it was declared a country without adequate living conditions. The 2011 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights considers the return of asylum seekers and refugees to Greece to be a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Racial profiling

The “Welcome!” initiative also recalls that the EU has never adopted the list of so-called safe countries, and therefore this is not the criteria by which a country should be considered safe. In addition, there is the question of who is deciding which persons are in need of protection.

The way in which the decisions are made to return refugees are rooted in the practice of racial profiling by the police and authorities, with decisions made on the basis of skin color, language or a refugee's documents, and without making any assessment of the safety of the country from which the refugee is coming.

Don't compromise EU values

Finally, the “Welcome!” initiative is asking for safe corridors for individuals from war-affected areas, although that does not mean that this protection – which is guaranteed by international and EU law – should not be available for others who need it.

The European Union, which is based on the values of the protection of life and the freedom of all people, and which prides itself on the rule of law and asks the same of accession states - and ultimately all other countries - must not allow these values to collapse.