"Säkra länder" osäkrar asylrätten!

Förslagen till nytt asylsystem som just nu förhandlas inom EU-organen, kokar ihop till en punkt: att hålla asylsökande utanför EU eller stoppa så många som möjligt vid de yttre gränserna. Detta sker genom konceptet "säkra länder": Den som kommer från ett "säkert ursprungsland", eller via ett "säkert tredje land", eller har varit i ett "första asylland" ska inte släppas in till en fullständig asylprocedur och eventuellt inte ens få söka asyl i EU. I praktiken betyder det outsourcing av asylrätten till länder som är minst av allt säkra. Det har redan börjat med EU-Turkiet-avtalet. Vilka konsekvenserna kan bli om utvecklingen fortsätter ser vi i Libyen.

FARR har skrivit ett öppet brev till LIBE-utskottet, det utskott i EU-parlamentet som behandlar omarbetningen av asylprocedurdirektivet. Brevet är ställt till utskottet, ordföranden och de svenska parlamentarikerna i utskottet. Vi uppmanar andra organisationer och enskilda att göra detsamma - låt våra parlamentariker höra att detta inte är OK, vi vill ha asylrätten kvar i EU!

Hämta brevet till LIBE-utskottet i pdf-format

Läs mer om asylsystemet och gränserna på FARR:s EU-sidor

Se FARR:s tidning Artikel 14, senaste numret om Fort Europa


With reference to the EU Commission proposal on the Asylum procedure regulation and a new European asylum system.

The Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, FARR, is a politically and religiously non-aligned umbrella organization that assists refugee groups, asylum committees and individuals. We are well established in Sweden and are one of the organizations that has contacts with government and the Riksdag.

FARR wishes to express to the LIBE Committee our deep concern about the European Union's approach to this proposal. We welcome some improvements as suggested but we also see many deteriorations. In general, the proposal  implies the erosion of asylum rights within the EU. Details of the proposal are almost inhuman and do not comply with the principles ​​of human rights, equal worth of all people, legal security and humanism, which the EU presents as fundamental values ​​within the Union.


Safe third country concept

First of all, we wish to point out the articles concerning the safe third country concept, country of asylum and safe country of origin (Art 44-48).

Article 45 on the safe third country concept portends, we fear, an outsourcing of the right to seek asylum to countries outside the EU's borders. This has begun through the EU-Turkey statement, and we see in the proposal that this has served as a test model. A country outside the EU can be considered by the EU or the Member states as a safe country without the requirement that this country has ratified the Geneva convention from 1951 and the New York Protocol 1967 or have the right to seek asylum and the right to a safe asylum procedure implemented in law. The assessment "adequate protection" will be sufficient. Such countries can be considered as first countries of asylum, and if the person who is seeking asylum in EU territories has resided in or may only have travelled through such a country, the person may not be entitled to apply for asylum within the EU but will be transferred back to that third country.


The EU-Turkey agreement

The consequences of the EU-Turkey statement have been a decrease in the number of refugees in Greece and the EU compared with 2015 and the beginning of 2016. However, the statement has not prevented refugees from coming. We all know that they are stuck under increasingly repulsive circumstances on a number of Greek islands. Countless aid  and human rights organizations have sounded the alarm and protested about the conditions, while the islands' Greek population has vainly demanded that their islands shall not have this role.

Greece has laws on asylum, which has led to the fact that relatively few have been sent back to Turkey until now. The EU Commission has proposed legislative changes to Greece to speed up the deportation processes. The Commission is now attempting to learn from the consequence of Greek law about rights and is suggesting limited opportunities for appeal. As the Asylum procedure directive will become a regulation, there will be no possibility for individual member states to have a more humane legislation.

To treat fleeing people as is done now on the islands or send them back to Turkey is not acceptable. This issue will be addressed further on.

We fear that the EU Commission's goal is to ensure that all countries around the Mediterranean, as well as other transit countries, can be designated as safe or sufficiently safe, with the intention that most asylum seekers will be returned there after a limited legal procedure in an EU Member state. Certain Member states will, through the Dublin regulation, be some of the EU's external border countries, probably Greece and Italy, in particular. The islands of the Aegean and southern Italy will become the permanet EU refugee camps. This is happening over the heads of the resident population and against the will of at least the Greek islanders, whose main source of income is tourism.

To return to Turkey again, it is the first example of a country that is now considered to be a first country of asylum instead of an EUor EEA country. Turkey can neither be described as a safe nor sufficiently safe country in terms of human rights and protection, especially after the coup attempt in the summer of 2016. Here, human rights organizations cannot carry out the monitoring control that is necessary to at least maintain the guise of people being treated in accordance with legal and human rights. In Turkey, the Kurdish population is also living under threat and abuse, and Turkey is currently waging war against Kurds on the other side of the border to Syria. Also, confirmed data indicate that Turkey has sent back refugees across the Syrian borders. Nevertheless, the EU continues to claim that refugees should be returned to Turkey.


The EU-Italy-Libya agreements

Another country that the EU and the member state Italy have given much support to is Libya. In order to prevent refugees and migrants from coming into the EU, support is given to Libya's coastguards and to Libyan authorities responsible for the closed detention centres where refugees and migrants are held under disgusting and inhuman conditions. The official purpose of the EU is said to be the fight against smugglers, but the consequences are that hundreds of thousands, perhaps up to a million, refugees and migrants are stuck in Libya under repulsive conditions. The country does not have a functioning state, there is no asylum legislation, the country has not signed the Geneva convention nor the New York Protocol. Nevertheless, Italy, in particular, contributes to the situation where refugees and migrants, of whom many probably had wanted to request asylum in the EU, are forced back without having their asylum grounds examined. Instead of respecting international conventions on refugees' rights, this may be more likened to the EU conducting a campaign against refugees and migrants seeking protection.

FARR also means that careful consideration must be given to whether a country of origin can be considered safe for the asylum seeker. The laws of one country and the will and / or ability of the authorities to follow the law and provide protection may look very different in practice than in theory. Particularly this frequently applies to sexual and ethnic minorities.


FARR opinon on other parts of the proposed regulation

We enclose below the main points from our submission to the Swedish government, that FARR was invited by the government to hand in. We believe that we have good reasons to convey this to the LIBE Committee.

Undersigned in Februari 2018

Sanna Vestin
Chair of the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, FARR

Ph.dr Annette Rosengren, board member of FARR
Michael Williams, vice chair of FARR