EU to make all refugees temporary?

December 11, 2002 —

Written by Tony Bunyan

The Council of the European Union is discussing the definition of ‘refugee/subsidiary protection’ and could put the status of all future refugees under permanent review.

Secret discussions among ministers and civil servants in the Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) about the Directive proposed by the European Commission on the definition of ‘refugee/subsidiary protection’ raise two major causes for public concern:

  • from next year, all new successful applicants for refugee or subsidiary protection status across the EU would have their situation reviewed regularly with a view to terminating their status as soon as possible;
  • the EU is planning to break key parts of the Geneva Convention concerning exclusion from and termination of refugee status – so that despite the EU Member States’ international obligations, fewer people will get refugee or other protection status in the EU.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, said: ‘We are entering the end-game: from 1991 onwards the EU told people fleeing from poverty that their applications for asylum would automatically be considered “manifestly unfounded”. Now those seeking sanctuary from persecution, torture and inhuman treatment are only to be given temporary status as a matter of policy. Their status is to be under constant review so that they can be repatriated at the earliest opportuntiy (potentially even through forced return) if EU governments decide it is “safe” for them.

‘Anyone with any morality or compassion will be appalled by this proposal. Any legislator with any principles will have to reject it.’

Related links

Read the full report from Statewatch.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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