HRW – Europe‘ Refugee Crisis – An agenda for action

“ European Union governments should take urgent action to bring Europe’s response to the refugee challenge, now a full blown EU crisis, in line with their legal responsibilities and stated values.“ Human Rights Watch latest report.

“ The response of many EU governments to the crisis has been deeply flawed. The response has been characterized by deaths at sea, chaos, and deplorable humanitarian conditions at sometimes-closed or blocked land borders, and inadequate responsibility sharing and collective action. Many EU countries have tried to deflect responsibility onto countries outside the European Union.

The European Union and its member countries should work collectively to:

  • Save lives at sea through robust search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea;
  • Reduce the need for dangerous journeys by increasing refugee resettlement, facilitating family reunification, and providing humanitarian visas;
  • Resolve the chaos at Europe’s borders through increased preparedness and coordination, swifter implementation of an agreed-upon emergency relocation scheme, and access to fair and efficient asylum procedures – including at the Greek and Bulgarian land borders with Turkey – and decent reception conditions throughout the region;
  • Fix the EU’s broken asylum system, and start by replacing the flawed Dublin system with a permanent mechanism for distributing asylum seekers equitably and enforcing EU standards across all member states;
  • Respect rights in migration cooperation with countries outside the EU by carefully designing, carrying out, and monitoring programs;
  • Put human rights at the center of diplomatic and other efforts to tackle root causes of refugee and migration flows.“ (

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