EU leaders must focus on human rights abuses not obsess about stopping migrants

Published: 14th December 2017

EU heads of state and government meeting today in Brussels are discussing Europe’s response to migration.

Responding to the discussion, Oxfam’s EU Migration Policy Advisor, Raphael Shilhav, said:

“EU leaders have to address the human rights abuses suffered by refugees and migrants within and at Europe’s borders, instead of obsessively focusing on stopping people arriving.

“Europe should offer help for people in search of safety and dignity, including through more humanitarian visas and reuniting families.”

Notes to editors

  • Oxfam spokespeople are available for interviews and background in Brussels.
  • Ahead of the EU Council meeting, 34 NGOs criticised Europe’s migration policies since 2015 in a joint statement and outlined 5 key areas that must be improved.
  • A report on Wednesday by Oxfam and other NGOs highlights the terrible conditions for migrants in Greece, including the more than 2,000 unaccompanied children who are on the waiting list for safe shelters. The organisations warn of the gaps in services for asylum seekers in Greece as the Greek government prepares to take full control of the refugee response in the country.
  • A coalition of human rights and humanitarian organizations, including Oxfam, calls on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and EU governments to immediately transfer 7,500 people to the mainland by 21 December and to end the containment policy that traps people on the Greek islands. The Greek government said it would transfer 5,000 asylum seekers from the Greek islands to the mainland before the start of winter but thousands of people remain trapped.
  • A recent Oxfam report based on testimonies of migrants who escaped from Libya exposes the rape, torture and abuse faced by migrants in the country.
  • Read more about Oxfam’s work with refugees and other migrants in Europe and across the globe.

Contact information

Florian Oel | Brussels | | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

For updates, please follow @Oxfam and @OxfamEU