New migration control plans will lead to the EU abandoning commitment to human rights

EU leaders are today expected to endorse the European Commission’s proposed ‘Partnership Framework’ for controlling migration.

Condemning this, Oxfam’s EU migration policy lead Sara Tesorieri said:

“EU leaders are set to drop Europe's commitment to a foreign policy that defends universal values – especially human rights – in favour of a short-sighted scheme aimed at convincing and coercing third countries to stop migration.

“The new ‘Partnership Framework’ will make cooperation on migration control the only criterion for relations with many countries, and Europe will use all its considerable leverage toward this single goal. Development aid, which is actually meant to lift people out of poverty, will be wrongly used to outsource the EU’s border control.

“It is particularly unacceptable that the EU continues to claim it is ‘saving lives’ with these new policies. This is a slap in the face to people who will be forced to take even more dangerous routes to escape conflict and poverty in the hope of a dignified life elsewhere.

“Oxfam believes all people should be able to live a life of dignity and safety and it is the continuing humanitarian relief, as well as search and rescue efforts, that truly save lives. Cooperating with regimes known for abuses in order to prevent irregular migration is not life-saving work: it is an effort to put Europe's perceived security interests before the welfare and rights of people.”

Notes to editors: 
  • More than 120 NGOs are calling on EU leaders to reject current migration control plans, arguing this would be a shift towards a foreign policy that serves the single objective of curbing migration. Download the joint NGO statement, including the list of organizations that have signed up to it.
  • At the Valletta summit on migration in November 2015, EU member states agreed to set up the “EU Trust Fund for Africa”. In a reaction, Oxfam warned the trust fund risks blurring the lines between development aid and money to bolster African states’ border control. See also Oxfam's position paper for the Valletta summit.
  • Under the EU Trust Fund for Africa, the EU has allocated 40 million euros to a project in the Horn of Africa titled 'Better Migration Management (Horn of Africa)'. Under this project they plan to provide two detention centres and computers, cameras, scanners, servers and cars to the Sudanese Ministry of the Interior. In the project document officials have identified a potential risk of the project as “Provision of equipment and trainings to sensitive national authorities (such as security services or border management) diverted for repressive aims”.
  • Learn more on Oxfam's response to the refugee and migrant crisis.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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