Terre des Hommes together with other 25 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) submitted to the Members of the European Parliament a joint statement which raises deep concerns on the recent agreement signed by the EU and Afghanistan to facilitate the return and readmission of Afghan nationals and entitled “The Joint Way Forward on migration issues”.
The NGOs’ statement warns that the agreement paves the way to the deportation of thousands of Afghan nationals to a country which is far from being considered safe: the ongoing and escalated conflict has left more than 1.2 million people without permanent homes and has resulted in 3 million refugees fleeing to Pakistan and Iran. Around 242,000 Afghan people have fled to the EU since January 2015.
In particular, one of the key worries is the risks of rights violations such as the principle of non-refoulement, protection against collective expulsions and the right to asylum.
The agreement also appears alarming as it allows the deportation of children, both alone and with their families; moreover, there is no reference to the best interest assessment for unaccompanied children which is required by European law.
Due to these circumstances, the joint statement notes that “the content of the recent EU-Afghanistan declaration on a Joint Way Forward on migration issues gives clear signals that Europe will once more engage in a conduct that puts into question its obligation to protect those fleeing conflicts or persecution and to safeguard the human rights of all persons”.
In light of this trend, a major concern is the shifting of the EU relationships with third countries towards migration control bypassing the European Parliament (EP): indeed, the Joint way Forward Declaration was negotiated without any debate in the EP.
In this respect, the joint statement call on the Members of the European Parliament
- to present concrete parliamentary questions to the European Commission and the European External Action Service on the implementation of the EU-Afghanistan agreement,
- to challenge the focus of the EU foreign policy on curbing migration
- and to analyze the legality of bilateral readmission agreements.
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