Responding to proposals by the European Commission to create ‘controlled centres’ for processing people rescued in the Mediterranean as well as disembarkation platforms in third countries, Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for Europe, said:
“These proposals are a blueprint for a dangerous expansion of the European policies that are resulting in untold suffering and human rights violations in the Mediterranean. Attempts to push migrants out of sight are neither workable nor conscionable.
“Like the ‘hotspots’ set up in Greece and Italy, ‘controlled centres’ will do nothing to ensure a more orderly management of arrivals but instead risk exposing women, men and children to human rights violations.
“A stark illustration of the consequences of policies which prioritize border protection over human life is being played out now off the shores of Tunis, where 40 people have been stranded in searing heat and with dwindling supplies for almost two weeks.
“European leaders must ensure those at risk of drowning are rescued and disembarked in countries where they will not be exposed to serious abuses. Rather than introducing new policies focusing on containment and outsourcing of border control, our leaders must instead offer ways for refugees and migrants to cross borders safely.”