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Immigration: Repressive policies put a choice of life or death before us

Date

22 Sep 2009

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs
EU Priorities 2020

During this morning's debate on immigration in the plenary of the European Parliament, Spanish GUE/NGL MEP, Willy Meyer declared the start of the legislature an appropriate time to revisit Europe's migration policies, stating that the current policy is based on hypocrisy and cynicism. The European project would be impossible without the help of migrants, but Meyer said, "we penalise these immigrants with our laws and criminalise them."

"We must rescind such abominations as the Return Directive or Shameful Directive, that criminalize the very workers that we need and rely on to help us fight the current food, energy and financial crisis that we are facing." The Spanish MEP suggested the EU Latin American Summit would be the perfect platform to overturn the Return Directive and disregard this inhumane policy.

During the same debate, GUE/NGL Portuguese MEP, Rui Tavares, group coordinator of the LIBE committee, stressed the need to respect the Geneva Convention and Asylum laws. Sending refugees back to a country like Libya that is not a signatory of this convention is a violation of international law. 75% of immigrants that arrive on our shores request asylum, 50% of which are given humanitarian protection: "how can we think to send them back", he demanded. "Our political choices are ethical choices, these repressive immigration policies make us responsible with the choice of life or death", he declared.

"Is it acceptable that 14 000 people died, since 1988, while trying to reach our shores? The answer is a categorical No. We need to change our policies. We must re-examine the mandate of the FRONTEX agency and refuse to fund it until it accords a place for humanitarian needs in its programme", concluded Rui Tavares.

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