Amnesty International: EU refugee summit lacked courage, chaos will continue
European politicians have been criticized by human rights NGOs over the results of their extraordinary summit on migration. Amnesty International (AI) believes the summit's emphasis on protecting the EU's external borders ignores both the reality of the global migration crisis and those countries' obligations to offer protection to those who cannot find it elsewhere.
In its initial reaction to the summit, Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed appreciation for the promises made to significantly increase aid to refugees living in camps in the Middle East. However, HRW emphasized that this aid is no substitute for the necessary measure of expanding legal routes to Europe for those who otherwise risk their lives by journeying to the EU.
"An ambitious, brave new approach is needed, but what we got is just another serving of a strategy that has already failed," said John Dalhuisen, AI's director for Europe. In a press release, Dalhuisen also expressed appreciation for the EU-28's decision to invest a billion euro into supporting UN efforts to aid refugees from Syria directly in its neighboring countries.
He was, however, disappointed by the other efforts announced at the summit. The AI representative believes EU country leaders should find a way to arrange for asylum-seekers to safely travel to Europe and should change the dysfunctional European asylum system.
AI believes the number of 120 000 asylum-seekers that the EU Member States have decided to redistribute according to quotas, against the will of a minority of countries, will basically not influence the situation in Greece and Italy. "The chaotic, tragic scenes we have followed in recent weeks will continue and and most probably get even worse," Dalhuisen warned.
Judith Sunderland of HRW said the decision to financially aid refugees in the Middle East is only worthwhile if the money gets there rapidly. Overall, however, she believes the summit was just more proof that "everyone is doing their best to rid themselves of responsibility and to emphasize border protection over basic humanity."
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