The cover of the report Credit: The Italian Disarmament Network
The cover of the report Credit: The Italian Disarmament Network

A report by the Transnational Institute in collaboration with Dutch anti-arms trade organization Stop Wapenhandel said Europe "is making deadly agreements with dictators to stop refugees" and "has turned its back on an unconditional commitment to human rights, democracy, freedom and human dignity." The report said that in recent years, Europe has expanded "in a problematic way its own border externalization policies" which bring "advantages to the security industry but provoke highly damaging human and development costs."

The report was released in Italy by the Italian Disarmament Network (Rete Italiana per il Disarmo) and rights organisation ARCI. The report, titled "Expanding the Fortress", examines the "rapid growth of agreements and measures of border externalisation that began in 1992" but have experienced a sharp growth since 2015. 

EU collaboration "strengthens authoritarian regimes" 

The report said EU collaboration with neighbouring countries to control migration "has strengthened authoritarian regimes, provided a spike in profits for security businesses and arms producers, taken resources away from development, and weakened human rights." The report closely examines 35 countries to which the EU "gives priority in efforts of border externalisation". It reveals that "17 countries (48%) have an authoritarian government and only four can be considered democratic states, 35 countries (100%) pose extreme or elevated risks to the respect of human rights, and 18 countries (51%) are classified as 'low' in human development indicators". The organisations responsible for the report said "the European Union and its member states not only signed agreements to legitimise the governments of those countries and turned a blind eye to human rights violations, but have also provided financing, training, and material support to precisely the state security organs most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights". 

Report highlights effects of policies 

The report highlights the effects of European policies in Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Niger, Mauritania, and Mali. "In all of these countries, the agreements have brought the EU to neglect or tone down criticism on human rights violations in order to sign these agreements," the report said. In Turkey, the EU "has violated the fundamental obligations provided for by international law, such as the principal of non-refoulement, the principal of non-discrimination (the agreement regards only people from Syria), and the principal of access to the asylum process." In Libya, "the civil war and ongoing instability haven't stopped neither the EU nor its member states such as Italy from channeling money to border facilities and surveillance systems, training for the coast guard, and financing of detention centres".

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