European flags flutter in the wind in front of the European Commission in Brussels. PHOTO/EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ
European flags flutter in the wind in front of the European Commission in Brussels. PHOTO/EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Human Rights Watch has denounced that the failure of European policies cause suffering in the migrant population, issuing a number of recommendations for policies that are respectful of their human rights ahead of a summit of EU countries on June 28-29.

Human Rights Watch has denounced in a new report that ''the failure by European Union governments and institutions to develop an effective and rights-based policy response to migration causes real suffering and fuels a sense of political crisis around migration''. The report was issued on the eve of a meeting of EU heads of state in Brussels on June 28-29 to discuss migration and asylum policy. 

Concrete recommendations for EU States 

HRW explained in a statement that the report ''Toward an Effective and Principled EU Migration Policy: Recommendations for Reform'' includes concrete recommendations to ensure EU global leadership on refugee protection, uphold the right to asylum, and more equitably share responsibility among EU member states. Human Rights Watch policy recommendations are intended to safeguard the rights of all migrants while allowing EU governments to control their borders, the organization said in the statement. 

''EU governments only seem able to agree on outsourcing responsibility and insourcing misery,'' said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. ''Heads of state should take the opportunity of the summit to endorse rights-based migration policies that are both more humane and more efficient''. 

Union makes asylum requests 'difficult' 

The European Union is making applying for asylum in Europe ''more difficult'', creating a hostile environment for migrants and asylum seekers and threatening the integrity of the international refugee system, Human Rights Watch said, citing the case of migrant-rescue vessel Aquarius and recalling the political impasse on the reform of the Dublin regulation. 

''Numerous EU countries have already adopted or proposed domestic legal or policy changes that limit the rights of asylum seekers and refugees to appeal decisions and to be reunited with their families and that limit assistance. At the same time, EU countries have intensified efforts to prevent arrivals and deter asylum claims, with far-reaching disregard for their significant human rights consequences'', the organization said. 

EU leaders at the upcoming Council meeting should focus on strategies ''to minimize dangerous migration journeys while respecting the right to leave any country and acknowledging the myriad drivers of migration, including violence and persecution'', said HRW. ''Efforts to save lives at sea and on land should be a priority, and the EU should expand safe and orderly channels such as refugee resettlement and legal channels for employment and study, while pursuing the safe return of irregular migrants in ways that respect their human rights''.

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