On International Migrants Day, we should remember our obligation to defend Europe as a continent of rights, freedoms and respect that provides safety for people in need of protection. This is not a time for building fences, but for joining forces to find common solutions to the challenges we face.
In order to reach the EU, migrants are risking – and in many cases losing – their lives. For this reason, FRA has published a toolbox on ways of increasing legal avenues by which those in need of international protection can reach the EU, helping both to save lives and combat smuggling.
Once in the EU, refugees often find themselves without adequate shelter, food, or healthcare. At the request of the European Commission, FRA has begun documenting the fundamental rights situation for new arrivals in regular updates that are published for the first time today. Many children are in a particularly vulnerable situation, as they have either travelled alone from their home countries or have been separated from their families in the course of the journey. Women are also exposed to sexual and gender based violence.
In many cases, volunteers and NGOs are carrying out the bulk of the work to provide assistance to refugees entering the EU. Nonetheless, people assisting those in need of protection with transportation, food or accommodation could face smuggling charges in some countries, an issue discussed in FRA’s paper on the criminalisation of irregular migrants.
Part of the EU response to the increased number of people seeking international protection has been to introduce more restrictive asylum policies and ensure the rapid return of those whose requests for protection have been turned down. In this context, safeguards are imperative to guarantee that measures do not violate fundamental rights. FRA is therefore carefully following the establishment of return monitoring mechanisms. At the same time, the Agency’s paper on alternatives to detention describes means by which asylum seekers and people in return procedures can be kept at the disposal of the authorities without being deprived of liberty.
As we mark International Migrants Day, FRA reiterates its view that inclusive societies are the precondition for integration, which in turn is needed for EU societies and economies to grow and flourish.
The infographic below outlines FRA's work on migration, asylum & borders.
Each item is hyperlinked so you can find out more about any topic >>