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Migration and asylum: for a coherent EU policy involving countries of origin and transit

A coherent overall EU migration policy should involve both countries of origin and transit, respecting human rights and avoiding a narrow emphasis on border control and security, PACE Committee on Migration said today.

Adopting a draft resolution based on a report by Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), the parliamentarians called on the EU to give “significant, unconditional and sustainable support to improving the protection of migrants’ rights in transit countries". This should include greater investment in reception and asylum-processing capacity and be accompanied by adequate and effective resettlement and relocation policies.

As examples of how the situation in transit countries can improve, the Committee welcomed recent developments in Turkey and Morocco. Their respective ongoing reforms, it said, “would have the potential to make both countries regional models of good practice”. By contrast, the Committee expressed alarm at the situation in Libya, which has been transformed into a country of transit where migrants find themselves at risk of grave violations of their human rights. Peace-building in Libya, "whilst necessary in itself, would also serve the interests of European migration policy."

The Committee encouraged the Council of Europe as a whole to help ensure that 'externalisation' of border controls does not result in violations of the human rights of migrants and refugees. In particular, it invited the Council of Europe's North-South Centre to consider further developing its role in facilitating dialogue between countries of origin, transit and destination, and to put human rights at the centre of this dialogue.

The Committee called on member states' governments to ensure that they refrain from any unlawful push-backs of migrants, whether at land or sea borders or during operations outside their territory, as required by the European Convention on Human Rights. The Committee also expressed concern at recent legislative amendments in Spain, criticised as being “aimed at legalising push-backs of migrants arriving in Ceuta and Melilla [and] in clear breach of human rights law”.