Many Member States fail the migrant victims of torture and trauma by not having systems in place to recognise the ordeals they have suffered and support them on arrival. Such trauma if left untreated can scar them and their families for life, and may lead to suicide. These are some of the findings from the latest summary report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on migration-related fundamental rights concerns in selected EU Member States. It examines how victims are being handled by national authorities to highlight how to best offer them the protection they are entitled to.
Many migrants and asylum seekers have fled or experienced extreme suffering in their home countries or en route to Europe. This includes physical and psychological violence, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. Lengthy bureaucracy, uncertainty about the outcome of asylum proceedings and poor reception conditions can compound their suffering. In Denmark alone, there were 120 suicide attempts and incidents of suicidal behaviour among asylum seekers in 2016, of which 29 were by children.
Despite international and EU laws guarding against such treatment and offering support to victims, many Member States are falling short of their duties, as this latest report shows. Some of the report’s main findings include:
Despite the lack of attention to torture and trauma victims, the report also identifies promising practices that other Member States could adopt to identify and support victims.
The European Commission asked the Agency to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States, particularly affected by large migration movements. The reports cover 14 Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
FRA has published overviews since September 2015. The next focus will be on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex applicants.