A Humanitarian Approach to Migration in the EU
20-11-2014 Press Release
Red Cross EU Office Conference: Promoting a Humanitarian Approach within the EU Migration Agenda
This morning, the Red Cross EU Office will hold the conference "Promoting a humanitarian approach within the European Union Migration Agenda” at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.
Check our post-conference press release.
High-level speakers from the EU institutions, the UN, the Red Cross and other civil society organisations will look at the context and future of EU priorities in the area of migration. Discussions will focus on two of the key challenges that the EU needs to address: (lack of) access to the EU, and the circumstances (rights and needs) of people in an irregular situation.
"Faced with a lack of legal ways to reach safety in the European Union, people fleeing war, persecution and violence, including many from Syria, have no other choice but to embark on dangerous irregular journeys” says Philippa Candler, Head of the Policy and Legal Support Unit at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Bureau for Europe. "That’s why the EU should further explore the creation of legal migration alternatives for the benefit of those in need of international protection, including resettlement, facilitated access to family reunion, private sponsorship programmes and other protection entry mechanisms”.
Migrants in an irregular situation are particularly exposed to abuse and exploitation. Because of their status, in many countries they have limited or no access to basic public services. "Pushing migration policies closer to a law enforcement approach, and penalising civil society organisations that work with undocumented migrants create barriers that prevent irregular migrants from enjoying their fundamental rights such as health care, education, fair working conditions, etc.”, underlines Michele LeVoy, Director of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM).
By prioritising the prevention of irregular migration, EU policies tend to overlook the impact this has on the vulnerabilities and needs of migrants, asylums seekers and refugees. "We need to rethink EU priorities in the field of migration. New migration policies should lead to a coherent approach based on solidarity, acceptance and integration that respects the fundamental rights of all migrants, irrespective of their legal status”,stresses Ms Kashetu Kyenge, Member of the European Parliament.
Speakers will also shed light on the challenges faced by humanitarian workers in ensuring access to protection, assistance and dignity for migrants within the EU. "European Red Cross Societies have substantial experience in providing support to vulnerable migrants”, says Leon Prop, Director of the Red Cross EU Office. "Their insight and recommendations can be of great value to policy makers in order to effectively protect migrants and safeguard their rights, particularly with regards to accessing international protection in the EU”.
Follow the conversation on Twitter using #EUMigration.
For further information, please contact:
Virginie Louis, Senior Communications Officer, Red Cross EU Office, +32(0)2 235 06 83+32(0)2 235 06 83, email@example.com
• Position Paper: Access to international protection in the EU for people fleeing Syria
• Contribution to the European Commission's consultation on the post-Stockholm agenda
• Shifting Borders – Externalising migrant vulnerabilities and rights?, Red Cross EU Office
• Position paper on Legal Avenues to Access International Protection in the EU, Red Cross EU Office