Fort Europa: aanval op mensenrechten


De gevolgen van het EU-migratiebeleid? Alleen maar meer ellende voor mensen die op de vlucht zijn. Dat stelt Oxfam vandaag, naar aanleiding van een migratie-top van de Europese leiders in Brussel. Oxfam voert morgen actie aan het Jubelpark en roept EU-lidstaten op om Fort Europa om te ruilen voor een menselijke aanpak, gebaseerd op het internationaal recht en de mensenrechten.


De mensen die van Turkije naar Griekenland gevlucht zijn, kunnen we om evidente redenen niet naar Brussel brengen. Om tóch hun verhaal te brengen, laat Oxfam (niet hen zelf maar) hun reddingsvesten Europa rondreizen. Donderdag arriveren ze in Brussel.

Aan de ingang van het Jubelpark stellen we donderdagochtend 50 reddingsvesten tentoon, die gedragen werden door vluchtelingen op hun oversteek van Turkije naar het Griekse eiland Chios.

Diezelfde reddingsvesten reisden eerder al naar New York en ook in andere Europese hoofdsteden komen morgen en overmorgen reddingsvesten aan.


  •     donderdag 20 oktober, 10-11 uur
  •     ingang van het Jubelpark, Europese Wijk, Brussel
  •     Oxfam-experten beschikbaar voor interviews in het Nederlands, Engels en Frans

Fortress Europe is forcing people into degrading and hopeless conditions. It is also sending a signal across the world that this behavior is acceptable, which is creating repercussions far beyond European borders.

Liesbeth Goossens, humanitarian policy advisor at Oxfam-Solidariteit, said:

“Shutting down borders does not stop people looking for safety, dignity and a better life, but actually forces people to use more dangerous and exploitative routes. Fortress Europe has so far failed to adequately support people who have arrived on European shores.”

Growing frustration

Every day, from Italy and Greece to Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Oxfam is witnessing the failings in Europe’s migration response.

The medical needs of refugees and other migrants are not being adequately addressed. In Italy, everyone who arrives off boats from Libya has experienced trauma during their journey, yet struggles to receive medical assistance, even in the most serious cases. In Greece, there is an urgent need for more healthcare, education, mental health and psychosocial services, and support for survivors of gender-based violence.

The reception system for unaccompanied minors in Italy is woefully inadequate. The arrival of lone children has risen significantly this year, with some being kept for 5 weeks in de-facto detention facilities that are meant to house people for up to 48 hours only. More than 5,000 unaccompanied children were reported missing in the first six months of 2016, which is an average of 28 children each day.

The asylum and family reunification processes in Greece are unfair, inefficient and far too slow. People tell Oxfam they are frustrated and confused by the registration process and asylum system. Asylum seekers have no clear guidance on next steps and are waiting for months to receive answers regarding their legal status, living in temporary, unsuitable, and sometimes even inhumane, conditions.

Irregular routes

Refugees and migrants don’t see alternatives to irregular routes. Many tell humanitarian workers they see smugglers as the only way to continue their journey. Oxfam’s partners in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are reporting increasing numbers of people crossing the border as they lose faith in the asylum system. Currently over 5000 people are in Serbia as they look for alternative ways into Europe. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to danger and abuse along irregular routes.

As well as closing borders and outsourcing border control to neighboring regions, the EU is now refocusing its foreign and development policies around the primary aim of curbing migration, of stopping people on their way to Europe and sending them back to where they come from. 

Liesbeth Goossens:

“Europe needs to expand safe and regular routes to Europe and provide a fair, transparent and efficient asylum system. It also needs to ensure development aid is used for reducing poverty and inequality, not for reducing mobility,” 


Contact us

Nederlandstalige pers
Belinda Torres Leclercq

Franstalige pers
Sotiris Gassialis

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