Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles today call on the European Union to withdraw a key EU asylum proposal. In response, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The proposals for minimum standards for asylum procedures currently being agreed in Europe give cause for grave concern, and we fully support the call that they be scrapped.
“The UK government is playing a central role in driving down standards across Europe, pushing for some of the most controversial aspects of the asylum Bill currently making its way through parliament in Britain to be incorporated into a common European asylum system.
“If the current proposals are agreed, they will allow all EU governments to return asylum seekers to their countries of origin before their appeal is heard, potentially to face torture or death. It will also be possible for states to send asylum seekers to countries with which they have no meaningful ties, simply shifting the responsibility for their protection on to poorer countries.
“Rather than taking the opportunity to create an asylum system for Europe with fair and effective procedures, standards are being driven so low that they risk breaching international law.
“The UK has long prided itself on its commitment to international law and human rights. We urge the government to use its influence in a positive way, to work towards the creation of a common European asylum system that ensures refugees are treated fairly and equitably across Europe.”
Notes to editor:
The Refugee Council is a member of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.
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Further information & links
For further information on European asylum policy, go to the Info Centre
For a Refugee Council briefing [March 2004] on the common European asylum system, go to the Publications section
Read a press release on the ECRE website, Refugee and human rights organisations across Europe call on EU to scrap key asylum proposal
ECRE home page, http://www.ecre.org
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