An operation to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean | Photo: Twitter SOS MEDITERRANEE ITA
An operation to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean | Photo: Twitter SOS MEDITERRANEE ITA

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called on the European Union to adopt urgent measures to end violence on migrants and refugees, including minors, at the European Union's external borders.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on February 9 called on the European Union and its member states to take urgent action to end pushbacks, collective expulsions, and the use of violence against migrants and refugees, including children, at the EU's external land and maritime borders.

The organization said in a statement that the "alarming situation" at some of the EU's external borders "highlights the need to improve migration and asylum policy and governance and implement humane and integrated rights-based practices."

Unjustifiable use of force

"The use of excessive force and violence against civilians is unjustifiable", IOM Chief of Staff Eugenio Ambrosi was quoted as saying in the statement.

The organization highlighted that pushbacks and collective expulsions are prohibited under international and EU law.

IOM said States must adopt measures to end these abuses.

The organization said it continues to receive documented reports of human rights violations and breaches of international law and its conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights.

IOM said that direct interaction with migrants as well as testimonies and photos shared by NGOs and the media, confirmed the level of "brutality" they were subjected to before being pushed back across maritime and land borders.

Respect for international obligations

"States' sovereignty -- including their competence to maintain the integrity of their borders -- must be aligned with their obligations under international law and respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms for all."

Moreover, IOM said it "welcomes the proposal by the European Commission -- set out in the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, currently under negotiation -- that EU member States establish an independent border monitoring mechanism, working closely with the Fundamental Rights Agency, as an effective way to ensure accountability and compliance with international and EU laws."


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