In a new report, the Italian branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service says Europe is failing to protection of migrants' human rights on the borders.
The report, entitled ''Forgotten at the Borders of Europe'' by Centro Astalli, the Italian branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), in collaboration with the Pedro Arrupe political training institute of Palermo, focuses on forced migrants who have arrived in Europe in the past three years. It notes that the absence of legal access routes for those in need of protection forces them to put themselves in the hands of traffickers on routes that are growing ever longer and more dangerous.
''The attempts by the EU and Member States to shut down the main routes do not protect people's lives, as is sometimes claimed. Most of the time they manage to make sure that their suffering has ever fewer witnesses,'' Centro Astalli said.
Study to give a voice to migrants
The aim of the study was to ''give a voice to the experiences of migrants and refugees, to make the connection clear between what they have experienced and the European policies that governments have adopted'', said JRS. The report is based on 117 interviews conducted in the Spanish enclave of Melilla as well as in Sicily, Malta, Greece, Romania, Croatia and Serbia.
The report found that migration routes that go from western and eastern Africa to Libya are ''notoriously dangerous, especially for women, often victims of sexual abuse or forced to sell their bodies to pay traffickers.''
Concern over the situation in Italy
At the presentation of the report in Rome, Centro Astalli also expressed concern over the growing problem of access to protection in Italy. At a time in which many migrants are trapped in Libya ''in inhumane conditions, and rescues at sea are less effective than before, our country has chosen to adopt new measures that make it more difficult to request asylum at the border, introducing the holding (of migrants) for identification purposes and lowering standards for reception centers,'' JRS said.
''When national and European policies push people to the edges, as is happening more and more, it is easier for European leaders and citizens to lose sight of the fact that migrants are people who continue to have hope even in very difficult circumstances, and that in every circumstance'' must have their rights respected.