Migrants arriving in Passau, Germany, in November 2015 | Photo: Picture-alliance
Migrants arriving in Passau, Germany, in November 2015 | Photo: Picture-alliance

Germany's and the EU's current migration and asylum policy "severely violates the right to health as well as physical and mental integrity of migrants and refugees in Germany," several dozen medical charities and associations have said.

A coalition of close to 50 civil society organizations on Monday (October 26) denounced human rights violations of refugees and migrants at the hand of Germany and the European Union.

Half a million people are being deprived of basic healthcare in Germany alone according to estimates, representatives of medical organization IPPNW said in Berlin.

"Many refugees are ill and need special protection," a spokesperson of the coalition said. "Instead, they are being treated like second-class humans, without privacy, without access to adequate healthcare."

The online announcement from Monday (October 26) followed a three-day "human rights tribunal" IPPNW put on together with 42 other organizations including Doctors of the World, German AIDS Service Organizations (DAH), several refugee councils, Medico International, Pro Asyl and distress hotline Alarm Phone.

"Germany and the EU have created border regimes that demote migrants to second-class people. Those affected hardly have any legal remedies," IPPNW said on Twitter.

With their migration and asylum policies, the German government and the EU also violate the right to health of refugees and migrants in Greek migrant camps, the organizations said further. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the rights violations of the EU, it added.

Law-violating pushbacks

In their statement, the coalition of organizations said the German police and military were involved in practices that violate international law, the Geneva Convention and current EU law.

So-called pushbacks -- illegal rejections of migrants -- off the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos happen almost daily, the organizations said.

Just yesterday (October 26), an investigation by a number of European media organizations found that Frontex, Europe's border security agency, has been involved in several illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.

During the "human rights tribunal" in Berlin, several refugees were being heard. The organizing charities and associations said they wanted to increase awareness of human rights violations in Germany and at Europe's external borders. 

Among other things, the coalition criticized the ramifications of deportations and the criminalization of private sea rescue.

With epd


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