Amnesty International on Wednesday condemned the European Commission’s newly unveiled migration pact, saying it was, in reality, designed to “heighten walls and strengthen fences.”
Reports quoted Ursula von der Leyen, a German politician and the president of the European Commission, as saying on Wednesday that the European Union must agree a system to handle migrants over the long term.
Ursula von der Leyen said the recent fire in the migrant camp on the Greek island Lesbos was “a stark reminder” of the need to act.
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“Migration is complex, the old system to deal with it in Europe no longer works,” von der Leyen said in a statement to the media as the Commission presented a new proposal.
“We need to find sustainable solutions on migration,” she said, according to Reuters.
But Amnesty International’s EU Advocacy Director, Eve Geddie, said the EU Commission’s newly unveiled pact, which has been pitched as a fresh start, is not offering anything new, but is trying to rebrand an old failed system.
“Pitched as a fresh start, this pact is, in reality, designed to heighten walls and strengthen fences. Rather than offering any new approach to facilitate bringing people to safety, this appears to be an attempt to rebrand a system which has been failing for years, with dire consequences,” Eve Geddie said.
According to Geddie, the new pack will do “nothing to alleviate the suffering of thousands of people stuck in camps on the Greek islands, or in detention centres in Libya.” It will not also provide the needed support to countries where people seeking safety first arrive.
“While the commitment to monitor abuses at the borders is welcome, this does not make up for the fact that the pact makes detention the norm and relies on deterrence, containment in camps and cooperation with abusive governments.
“European decision makers must now improve these proposals by investing in people’s dignity and protection. They must develop an ambitious plan for safe and legal pathways, and ensure a humane and sustainable approach built to last,” Geddie added.