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Putting an end to policies of pushbacks and expulsion of migrants

PACE today expressed concern at pushback policies and practice, which are in clear violation of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees, including the right to asylum and the right to protection against refoulement. Parliamentarians are also concerned about “reports and evidences of inhuman and degrading treatment of member States and their agencies in the framework of those pushbacks”, through intimidation, taking or destroying goods of migrants, the use of violence and depriving them of food and basic services.

Faced with the seriousness of this phenomenon, the Assembly has formulated a set of recommendations to member States with respect to border controls; services at borders; legal assistance; medical and psychological assistance, and NGOs, in adopting a resolution on the basis of a report by Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC).

It called on States to put an end to any policy leading to pushbacks or expulsions; to inform migrants at borders on “their right to apply for international protection in languages they can understand” and to ensure the registration and processing of asylum applications.

In addition, States should consider NGOs as partners and “not undermine their legitimate activities”, while refraining from using stigmatising rhetoric, PACE said. The adopted text also calls on the EU member States to improve mechanisms of relocation, in order to reduce the pressure on Europe’s bordering countries and avoid overcrowding and unnecessary detention.

Finally, the Assembly proposed that the Committee of Ministers encourage EU member States to accelerate their work on a revised Dublin Regulation, to further equal responsibility sharing and to relieve the pressure on frontline states.