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Human rights implications of the European response to transit migration across the Mediterranean

Doc. 14341: collection of written amendments | Doc. 14341 | 27/06/2017 | Revised version

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ADraft Resolution

1More than a year after the adoption of the EU–Turkey Agreement of 18 March 2016, the Parliamentary Assembly acknowledges that the implemented measures have delivered some tangible results with regard to the challenges underlying the refugee and migration crisis. While in the weeks before the implementation of the Agreement the daily average number of people arriving on the Greek islands was almost 2 000, since then it has fallen to under 100 per day. The number of fatalities, which amounted to 376 between the beginning of January and 20 March 2016, dropped significantly in the corresponding period a year later when 13 people lost their lives.
2Consequently, the situation in Greece has improved, despite the fact that Greece has become a destination country where almost 100% of people arriving request asylum. At present, there are 63 000 asylum seekers waiting in Greece for the outcome of their status determination procedure – 14 000 of them are confined to the islands. Thanks to the creation of hotspots, reception, registration and asylum processing have become much more efficient and, given the continuous efforts of the Greek authorities and other stakeholders to improve them, they raise less concern than before. However, overall, reception conditions are still poor, and the situation of unaccompanied minors is of utmost concern. Out of 2 000 minors registered in Greece, only 1 352 live in shelters adapted to their specific needs.

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, paragraph 2, replace the first sentence with the following sentence: "Since the Assembly last examined the situation one year ago, the situation in Greece has seen some improvements despite the fact that Greece has become a destination country where almost 100 per cent of newly arriving refugees and migrants request asylum."

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 42 in favor 53 against 12 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 2, delete the third sentence.

3The Assembly notes that concerns relating to possible returns of Syrian refugees to Turkey as a “first country of asylum” or “safe third country” under the EU–Turkey Agreement have proved to be unfounded as no Syrian asylum seeker (or any other nationality) is returned without the application for asylum being examined on the merits in Greece. By April 2017, the total number of people returned since the EU–Turkey Agreement was 1 487. The examination of all applications on the merits is the result of the consistent position of the Greek Appeal Committee in this respect.

27 June 2017

Tabled by Ms Serap YAŞAR, Mr Talip KÜÇÜKCAN, Ms Zühal TOPCU, Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY, Ms Leyla ŞAHİN USTA, Ms Lütfiye İlksen CERİTOĞLU KURT, Mr Suat ÖNAL

If adopted, amendments 15, 16 falls.

Votes: 18 in favor 77 against 13 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 3.

Explanatory note

This is a baseless discussion as nobody is in a position to assess Turkey's "safety" for Syrians who found refuge and are accomodated in Turkey since 2011. Turkey's tremendous efforts for the well-being of more than 3 million Syrians are obvious and acknowledged by the international community.

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Falls if amendment 1 is adopted.

Votes: 83 in favor 6 against 19 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, replace the first sentence with the following sentence: "The Assembly notes that its concerns relating to possible returns of Syrian refugees to Turkey as a "first country of asylum" or "safe third country" under the EU-Turkey Statement have not materialised, as until now no Syrian asylum seeker (or any other nationality) has been returned to Turkey on that basis."

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Votes: 62 in favor 18 against 28 abstentions

In amendment 15, replace the words "on that basis" with the following words: "without an examination of the application on its merits".

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Falls if amendment 1 is adopted.

Votes: 56 in favor 31 against 22 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, delete the last sentence.

4Furthermore, the Assembly notes that the concerns relating to the detention of asylum seekers in hotspots have not been confirmed either; once registered, asylum seekers can go in and out of hotspots freely although the living conditions are far from satisfactory.

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 81 in favor 10 against 17 abstentions

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 4 with the following paragraph:

"Furthermore, the Assembly notes that its concerns relating to the systematic detention of asylum seekers in hotspots appear to have been superseded by subsequent practice; once registered, asylum seekers can now enter in and out of hotspots freely although the lack of alternative accommodation means that other than some members of vulnerable groups, most have no choice but to reside there, where living conditions are far from satisfactory."

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 67 in favor 23 against 18 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 4, insert the following paragraph:

"Serious concerns remain in many important areas, including delays in the registration and processing of asylum claims, despite the significant efforts made by the Greek Asylum Service; ‘protective detention’ of unaccompanied children in police stations, even for short periods; inappropriate age assessment procedures; the absence of an effective guardianship system for unaccompanied minors; sexual and gender-based violence in reception facilities; insufficient access to education and healthcare; and inadequate integration measures, despite the Greek authorities’ implementation of an integration action plan. The Assembly also notes the continuing deficiencies in the Greek legislative and administrative framework and lack of coordination for responding to the basic needs of refugees and migrants, including an inability to absorb and make effective use of the available international funding."

5A direct consequence of the implementation of the EU–Turkey Agreement and the closure of borders was an overall decrease, by 83%, in the number of new arrivals in the countries of the Western Balkans and Hungary. In terms of migrants stranded in these countries at the end of 2016, the majority remain in Serbia (5 633) and Bulgaria (5 560).
6The implementation of the EU–Turkey Agreement and the closure of the borders on the Western Balkans Route arguably have had no impact on the number of people using the Central Mediterranean Route between North Africa and Italy. Even if the number of arrivals to Italy increased by more than 30% in the first five months of 2017, this phenomenon is linked to the unstable situation in Libya and the growing inflows of migrants from different African countries.
7The reception conditions and asylum procedures in Italy, even if they are also improving, require urgent action. As with Greece, Italy has become a destination country and continuous mass arrivals risk saturating the country’s reception capacities. The question of the return of rejected asylum seekers should be given immediate consideration; the large number of irregular migrants represents a threat for the whole asylum system and social stability.

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 88 in favor 13 against 9 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, after the second sentence, insert the following sentence: "New arrivals, including unaccompanied minors, often spend excessive periods of time in hotspots, which are neither intended for nor suited to this purpose, and the great majority are then accommodated in exceptional, temporary first reception facilities that lack essential amenities and services."

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 83 in favor 4 against 19 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, after the second sentence, insert the following sentences: "Deficiencies also exist in relation to legal regulation of the hotspots, including the basis of detention there, and the use of force to compel new arrivals to provide their fingerprints, especially given the reports of use of excessive force and even torture in this context. There are also serious delays in the registration and processing of asylum claims, concerns about the effectiveness of the remedy of appeal against rejection of asylum applications and an inadequate guardianship system for unaccompanied minors."

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Votes: 58 in favor 28 against 20 abstentions

In amendment 20, delete the following words: "especially given the reports of use of excessive force and even torture in this context".

8The arrival of migrants in Italy is to a large extent dependent upon the inability of the Libyan authorities to control their borders. While the level of search and rescue operations should be maintained, the European Union should increase its efforts to effectively combat networks of smugglers in the Mediterranean and enhance co-operation with the Libyan Coast Guard.

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 8, insert the following sentence: "Any cooperation with the Libyan authorities must be based on effective respect by both sides for essential provisions of international human rights law, including the right to leave a country, the right to seek and enjoy asylum and the prohibition on refoulement."

9The Assembly stresses that the lack of accessible and safe pathways forces refugees and migrants to take enormous risks by trying to cross the sea. The use of existing legal ways to enter Europe, family reunification or resettlements for example, would substantially contribute to reducing irregular migration across the Mediterranean.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9, in the second sentence, delete the following words: "family reunification or".

Explanatory note

It is true that the lack of genuine resettlement programmes play a negative role in the rise of irregular migration. However, resettlement programmes should only be designed upon UN vulnerability criteria covering people in need of physical protection and medical assistance, elderly asylum-seekers and women, girls and children at risk.

10The Assembly also refers to its recent resolutions dealing with various aspects of the mass arrivals of refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean, and in particular Resolution 2109 (2016) on the situation of refugees and migrants under the EU–Turkey Agreement of 18 March 2016, Resolution 2147 (2017) on the need to reform European migration policies, Resolution 2118 (2016) “Refugees in Greece: challenges and risks – A European responsibility”, Resolution 2107 (2016) on a stronger European response to the Syrian refugee crisis, Resolution 2108 (2016) “Human rights of refugees and migrants – the situation in the Western Balkans”, Resolution 2088 (2016) “The Mediterranean Sea: a front door to irregular migration”, Resolution 2072 (2015) “After Dublin – the urgent need for a real European asylum system”, Resolution 2089 (2016) on organised crime and migrants, and Resolution 2136 (2016) on harmonising the protection of unaccompanied minors in Europe.
11The Assembly calls on the European Union:
11.1with regard to reducing the number of crossings and saving lives, to:
11.1.1maintain at least the present level of search and rescue operations;
11.1.2enhance the fight against smugglers and traffickers;
11.1.3step up its co-operation with the Libyan Coast Guard and, in particular, ensure funding for training programmes, assist in establishing a maritime rescue co-ordination centre and support the provision of additional patrolling vessels and ensure their maintenance;

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 11.1.3, insert the following words: "on condition that the Libyan Coast Guard can be verified as operating with full respect for the fundamental rights of refugees and migrants, including by not exposing them to situations in which they are at risk of serious ill-treatment".

11.1.4engage with the Libyan authorities to ensure that the conditions in centres for migrants are improved, with particular attention given to vulnerable persons and minors; step up co-operation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in this respect; support capacity building in migration management for the Libyan authorities; and launch co-operation programmes with Libyan host authorities;

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, paragraph 11.1.4, after the words "ensure that", insert the following words: "the extremely serious and widespread violations of the rights of refugees and migrants are brought to an end and".

11.1.5mobilise funding for migration-related projects in North Africa in the framework of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa;
11.1.6launch a serious reflection on the possible establishment of hotspots outside Europe, in full compliance with international human rights standards;
11.2with regard to reception and living conditions in the countries of first arrival and transit, to:
11.2.1increase financial, human and administrative support with a view to improving reception and living conditions;
11.2.2ensure transparency, monitoring and accountability of financing procedures and, to this end, focus on public authorities as first instance beneficiaries;

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 11.2.2, insert the following words: "where they have proved their capacity to make more efficient and effective use of such funding than alternative actors".

11.3with regard to asylum procedures, to:
11.3.1continue ensuring the necessary support, through the relevant agencies of the European Union, to the national asylum services in front-line member States, and in particular remedy the current shortfall of experts from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) by calling for more pledges from member States and extending the duration of the mandate of individual experts;

27 June 2017

Tabled by Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Mr Georgios PSYCHOGIOS, Mr Axel SCHÄFER, Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Mr Nikolaj VILLUMSEN

Votes: 75 in favor 22 against 7 abstentions

In the draft resolution, before paragraph 11.3.1, insert the following paragraph:

"refrain from transferring asylum seekers back to Greece and Italy under the Dublin Regulation, as long as these countries are dealing with a disproportionate number of asylum seekers;"

11.3.2review, and redefine if necessary, the mandates of relevant agencies providing expert, financial and technical resources, advice and co-ordination to Greek and Italian asylum services with a view to eliminating existing shortcomings and increasing the efficiency of their actions;
11.3.3address, as a matter of urgency, the question of accommodation and processing of applications of unaccompanied minors;
11.3.4appoint a child protection officer for every hotspot and refugee camp;

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 11.3.4, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure that European Union Member States immediately fulfil their commitments regarding relocation, if necessary through imposing measures on non-compliant Member States, and".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 11.3.4, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure, through appropriate procedures, the quick relocation of recognised refugees and to adequately ensure equitable burden sharing amongst the participating Member States, as established by EU decisions;"

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 85 in favor 17 against 7 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 11.3.4, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure that EU Member States immediately fulfil their commitments regarding relocation deriving from the decisions of the European Council and the Council of Europe and take all the necessary measures on non-compliant Member States;"

11.3.5consider the extension of the relocation mechanism beyond September 2017 and redefine the criteria for eligibility, in particular to include Iraqis and Afghans;

27 June 2017

Tabled by Mr Marek ČERNOCH, Ms Dana VÁHALOVÁ, Ms Zdeňka HAMOUSOVÁ, Mr Luděk JENIŠTA, Ms Gabriela PECKOVÁ

If adopted, amendment 11 falls.

Votes: 25 in favor 79 against 8 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 11.3.5.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 11.3.5, replace the words "Iraqis and Afghans", with the following words: "Iraqis, Afghans and Somalis".

11.3.6step up the pace of resettlements from Turkey;
11.3.7speed up the work on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, including the revision of the Dublin Regulation and, in the future, the modalities of applying the principles of responsibility and solidarity;

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 11.3.7, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure that family members of asylum seekers or refugees residing in other Member States who are stranded in Greece or Italy, are reunited as soon as possible in those other Member States in the framework of the Dublin Regulation, the Family Reunification Directive or other EU and international law;"

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 11.3.7, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure full implementation of family reunification from Greece and Italy based on EU and international law, including the Dublin Regulation and the Family Reunification Directive;"

11.3.8ensure that people who are found not to be in need of international protection are returned with dignity to their countries of origin, to the extent possible;
11.3.9facilitate returns from Greece and Italy through bilateral agreements with the migrants’ countries of origin;
11.3.10step up financing for voluntary returns, including the creation of special centres for people awaiting return.
12The Assembly calls on the Greek authorities:
12.1with regard to reception conditions, to:
12.1.1continue increasing reception capacities on the islands and on the mainland and ensure that all unsuitable sites are closed as a matter of urgency;
12.1.2step up efforts aimed at the prevention and fight against sexual and gender-based violence as well as all kinds of exploitation in the refugee sites;
12.1.3focus more attention on the specific needs of unaccompanied and separated children, in particular by ensuring specialised support and care and appropriate living conditions and paving the way to normality and integration within the host society;

27 June 2017

Tabled by Ms Petra De SUTTER, Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Ms Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN, Mr Stefan SCHENNACH

Votes: 84 in favor 15 against 8 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 12.1.3, insert the following paragraph:

"end the systematic detention of rejected asylum seekers and make a proportionality test in each individual case, in accordance with the principles of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights and substantially improve detention circumstances and, in that light, abolish the practice of detaining migrants in police stations."

12.2with regard to asylum procedures, to:
12.2.1speed up the processing of asylum applications from registration to appeal, in line with European Union and international law standards;

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 89 in favor 10 against 9 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 12.2.1, insert the following words: "and withdraw their policy of denying access to IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programmes to those who appeal against negative decisions".

12.2.2adopt, as a matter of urgency, standard operating procedures which constitute an essential element for clarifying responsibilities and harmonising procedures in hotspots and other disembarkation ports;
12.2.3appoint permanent co-ordinators in hotspots with a view to improving co-ordination, ensuring effective communication and information sharing by different stakeholders and taking full responsibility for the overall management of hotspots;
12.2.4adopt legislation on guardianship in line with European best practices; and implement it without further delay as soon as it enters into force;
12.2.5ensure that all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the hosting and aid process are in line with European Union and State regulations;
12.3with regard to the absorption of European Union funding, to:

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 12.3, insert the following paragraph:

"implement an effective integration policy for recognised refugees and consider including within its scope asylum seekers whose nationalities suggest a high probability of being recognised as refugees;"

12.3.1speed up the process of the use of European Union long-term funding for reception and hosting facilities;
12.3.2activate the programmes aimed at the monitoring of the Aegean Sea area using European Union long-term funds.
13The Assembly calls on the Italian authorities:
13.1with regard to reception conditions, to:
13.1.1increase the number of adequate facilities to accommodate accompanied minors and other vulnerable asylum seekers and process their applications;

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 92 in favor 12 against 8 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 13.1.1, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure that asylum-seekers are not detained in hotspots for longer than the period allowed by law, increase the number of places in permanent reception centres and avoid the use of exceptional, temporary facilities for long-term accommodation;”

13.1.2establish national standards for refugees camps and centres, and increase their monitoring and accountability;
13.1.3step up efforts aimed at the prevention and fight against sexual and gender-based violence as well as all kinds of exploitation in the refugee sites;
13.2with regard to asylum procedures, to:
13.2.1review asylum procedures in order to increase their efficiency in the light of the considerably increased number of requests for asylum;

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 13.2.1, insert the following words: "and ensure that the appeals system meets the procedural requirements of an effective remedy".

13.2.2address, as a matter of urgency, the question of the processing of applications from unaccompanied minors and, in particular, clarify the procedures to enable their relocation;
13.2.3ensure quick and full implementation of Law No. 47 on unaccompanied minors (the “Legge Zampa”).
14The Assembly reiterates its long-standing calls on the Turkish authorities to:
14.1withdraw its geographical limitation to the United Nations 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 14.1.

Explanatory note

Turkey, with humanitarian considerations, has maintained an "open door" policy for Syrians without any form of discrimination since 2011. We strictly comply with the principle of non-refoulement. Today, we host more than 3 million Syrians and grant them protection.

14.2ensure that all migrants returned to Turkey under the EU–Turkey Agreement are treated in compliance with international human rights standards, including with respect to detention;

27 June 2017

Tabled by Ms Serap YAŞAR, Mr Talip KÜÇÜKCAN, Ms Zühal TOPCU, Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY, Ms Leyla ŞAHİN USTA, Ms Lütfiye İlksen CERİTOĞLU KURT, Mr Suat ÖNAL

If adopted, amendment 29 falls.

Votes: 17 in favor 77 against 13 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 14.2.

Explanatory note

In order to grant temporary protection status to Syrians to be taken back from the Aegean islands, the relevant regulation was amended on 7 April 2017. Every Syrian from the islands enjoys protection in Turkey.

27 June 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Falls if amendment 4 is adopted.

Votes: 86 in favor 20 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 14.2, insert the following words: ", access to asylum and the prohibition on refoulement".

14.3refrain from threatening to withdraw from observing the obligations described in the EU–Turkey Agreement.

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 14.3.

Explanatory note

The enhanced cooperation Turkey maintains with the EU is based on mutual commitments from both sides. We have been advocating burden and responsibility sharing since 2011. As long as the EU does not stick to its promises, Turkey has the right to withdraw from the Agreement.