Today, on International Migrants Day, the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) carries out an action in front of refugee centre Petit Chateau in Brussels together with the Belgian Green parties Goren! and Ecolo!, the Green Group in the European Parliament and the European Green Party (EGP). The action entitled “refugees have names not numbers” is aimed at protesting against the continuous violations of the rights of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.
Bartek Lech, Spokesperson of FYEG, comments on the action: “The protection of migrants and refugee rights is without any doubt one of the darkest spots on the EU map of fundamental rights. Especially the practice of long-term detention of asylum-seekers, even of minors, is completely unacceptable. The last thing that people fleeing war and persecution need is being locked up behind bars, prohibiting from interaction with the surrounding society and making them feel like criminals. People seeking residence in the EU are by no means criminals-and it is total madness to treat them as such. On top of that, in many member states, detention conditions in centres for refugees and so called “illegally residing third-country nationals”, a term that is yet another monstrous invention of the repressive EU bureaucracy, are simply appalling”
Marina Barbalata, Spokesperson of FYEG continues: “We therefore strongly oppose the Returns directive, which will make detention up to 18 months a standard in the whole of the European Union. Furthermore, we are seriously worried about the illegal practice of expelling rejected asylum seekers to countries where they run a serious risk of being persecuted or tortured. Unfortunately, such expulsions are daily routine in most member states. It is unbelievable that the EU does not have unified criteria for determining in which situations people can return safely. Current practices in this field are completely arbitrary. It is especially worrisome that many countries do not recognize the special situation of LGBT people and send them back to countries where they face severe discrimination or worse. We need much more harmonization of rules in this respect. However, the most urgent harmonization needed is bringing legislation and practices in the EU in line with International Human Rights Treaties. For we fall very far behind upholding basic human rights standards when it comes to asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented migrants.”