The Mediterranean becomes a mass grave of nameless refugees. The number of drownings increase. The EU closes the access for asylum seekers from North Africa. It leaves them to themselves in inhospitable desert camps along the Tunisian-Libyan border. In just the first seven months of this year 1.674 refugees have drowned in the Channel of Sicily. Reports of failure to render assistance by military units or commercial ships are multiplying. The refugee crisis intensifie in the Mediterranean – and Europe is watching. People who help those in distress, are indicted. Even a Spanish NATO frigate, that rescued people from drowning off the coast of Libya, was not allowed to enter any European port, but forced to bring the unwanted passengers on board to Tunisia. The European border protection agency Frontex stands for the expansion of a deadly border regime that shall „protect" our „world of freedom and democracy" against the desires of the global poor. This border regime is one of the largest direct human rights violations committed on behalf of the EU. The daily death at the EU's external borders is a result of it.
60 years after after ratification of the Geneva Convention, it is high time to provide the solidarity with the people seeking protection to which the convention committed. The deaths at the external borders have to stop. We want another Europe. A Europe that truly stands for the ideas of humanity and freedom of all people.
State leaders who yesterday were still partners of the EU, are now accused as war criminals and torturers. As the "gendarmes of Europe" and "guarantors of stability," they were courted, paid and supported, regardless of their long-obvious crimes against their own people. The new range of existing structures shall continue this complicity: Before the diplomatic recognition of the Transitional Council in Benghazi, Libya by the EU, italian negotiators made sure, that the rebels renew the agreement to combat illegal migration, that was already very successful under Gaddafi. This approach has a long tradition. Already in 1999 the EU decided to give itself a common asylum and immigration policy. But primarily she has unified its efforts to seal itself off. Countries far beyond its borders are being made to its agents; development assistance is tied to the willingness to stop refugees and (transit-)migrants. By means of the so-called third country agreements for common border defense, the EU shapens the internal politics in these countries. By establishing a logistics and monitoring the sale of modern safety technology, the repressive systems (police, army, intelligence services) are strengthened in these countries. Libya and Tunisia show, how this high technology for border protection is used against democratic movements in a situation of crisis. Fundamental rights as the freedom of movement and emigration enforced through new legal regulations in the "partner countries" limited and violations punished.
Persistently the EU holds maintaining such complicity. This must stop.
Only a small fraction of the refugees in the world is coming to Europe, the vast majority remains in the countries of the South. Therefore, the images of Lampedusa, from the Greek border or Malta are an artificially created state of emergency. Populist politicians and sections of the media exaggerate the "threat" of security and prosperity, they dramatize a "mass exodus" of refugees and migrants to foment existing racism. This is how exclusion and militarization are being legitimated. However: Displacement and migration can not be stopped. Not migration is a crime, but economic and political conditions, that force people save themselves by fleeing across the sea from distress and violence, and the lack of legal entry prospects.
Asylum seekers should not be exploited to create artificial threat scenarios. The EU must disarm their borders and allow the legal and risk-free access to refugees.
The so-called Dublin II Regulation regulates the responsibility for asylum procedures in EU Member States. This European law has divided the responsibility for the reception of asylum seekers extremely unequal – to the benefit of countries without external borders, especially Germany. This unequal treatment finally affects the refugees – where the right is taken to select as protection seekers to their own whereabouts. The Dubliner jurisdiction arrangements allow for a double shift responsibility.
While beyond the core countries of the EU in a comfortable way of their responsibility for a humane refugee policy, the EU members to defend the borders from refugees increasingly brutal. The unfair and unsoldiarische Dublin Regulation must be lifted. All EU states must make their fair contribution to refugee protection.
Refugees and migrants are not only looking for protection. They fight for a better life, for equal rights, autonomy and participation in social wealth. The movements of the flight and migration within the African continent and along the southern border regions of the European Union are the price of a globalization, that is only interested in the resources and markets of the African continent, but not in his people. Equitable development must guarantee right to leave to the people of the South on the one hand, while laying the social, economic and political conditions that people can stay in their home countries.
Development cooperation must not be given in return of the support for a system of remote, extrernal border security. The policy of the EU and its member countries must be aligned consistently on an equitable global development and the global creation of decent living conditions.
Europe claims to be an "area of freedom, security and justice" and refers to its history, humanism, the Enlightenment, to its revolutions. But at the same time European leaders are not ashamed of themselves to defame refugees as "human tsunami". With enthusiasm we are pursuing the civil society uprising in North Africa and the Middle East countries, especially the desire of people for freedom and justice.
The EU, however, refuses to recognize the freedom of mobility as part of the newlywon civil liberties. But a world that is committed to democracy, must be measured by how it deals with migrants.
The repeal of restrictive visa requirements, support of asylum seekers and a real prospect for them, to find a new home within the EU, would express the democratic and humanitarian obligations adopted in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and in many constitutions of the member countries. Instead of populistically calling into question these liberties, it is high time that they have validity for the EU well beyond its borders.