Frontex must halt degrading treatment of asylum seekers

22 September 2011

Frontex must halt degrading treatment of asylum seekers

The SP political groups in the Dutch national Parliament and the European Parliament have put questions in response to a damning report from Human Rights Watch on degrading conditions surrounding the reception of asylum seekers in Greece. Greece’s reception of asylum seekers is backed up by the European Union’s border guard service corps Frontex. ‘The report is damning about Frontex’s actions and talks about human rights abuses,’ says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘This must lead to immediate changes.’

The EU Council of Ministers is meeting today to discuss asylum and immigration policies. Last week the European Parliament approved a broadening of Frontex’s mandate subject to the service’s compliance with human rights norms. “Human Rights Watch states not only that the situation is now quite dire, but also that the changes to Frontex which were announced would not be sufficient,” says De Jong. “According to the report, abuses are not the result of circumstances beyond Frontex’s control but of flawed procedures.” In the SP’s view, therefore, the council of mInisters must today give its guarantee that action will be taken. “In the wake of this shocking report fine words must lead to swift action. In the Fylakio reception camp and at the police station at Feres, things have to change, and right away.”

Asylum and immigration, a hot potato
During the Council of Ministers meeting, Dutch Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers could have come in for some criticism, in the estimation of the SP representatives in The Hague and Brussels. Yesterday it emerged in answers to a joint question from all of the Dutch opposition parties that the government’s proposal to make undocumented immigration a punishable offence is in conflict with European rules. SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen has therefore put a follow-up question to Leers asking him to clarify his position.

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