PACE adopts reports and resolutions on migration and asylum issues

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted two reports with the corresponding resolutions and recommendations to the Committee of Ministers concerning  migration and asylum issues.

-Frontex: human rights responsibilities criticises human rights loopholes in Frontex's actions such as lack of clarity over the agency's responsibility in co-ordinating and implementing return operations and with respect to liability for human rights violations or a lack of democratic scrutiny. The Assembly welcomes the appointment of a human rights officer and the creation of a consultative forum on fundamental rights, but remains concerned whether they will be enough to address the said human rights issues. The Assembly calls on Frontex to recognise its responsibility for the projects it co-ordinates and implements and to build up an effective, transparent and independent human rights monitoring mechanism for its operational activities. Frontex should also ensure that persons with international protection needs are identified and granted access to asylum and protection procedures. Joint return operations should only be carried out for EU Member States that have an effective system of forced return monitoring at national level. In cases of persistent breaches of fundamental rights, Frontex should suspend or terminate joint operations.

Read the full report and the adopted resolution and recommendation on the website of the Parliamentary Assembly.

-Management of mixed migration and asylum challenges beyond the European Union's eastern border: The PACE deals here with the growing mixed migration flows forming in countries beyond the EU's eastern borders (such as Turkey, the Balkan countries, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia) and aiming at reaching the EU. The PACE notes that in its effort to keep such flows out of its borders, the EU often returns migrants and asylum seekers to those same eastern countries, with the result that they have to take responsibility for those persons. The PACE underlines that the EU should not be shifting that responsibility to its neighbouring states. Instead, it should assist them to deal with migratory pressures and share responsibility. Therefore, the EU should substantially increase its support to them and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to guarantee the rights of those seeking international protection, including the EU Charter's right to asylum. Moreover, the EU should refrain from returning third-country nationals to third countries where it is clear that these cannot cope or cannot guarantee fundamental rights. The countries beyond the EU's eastern borders are called upon to improve their capacity to deal with asylum claims by putting in place fair and effective asylum systems and to improve their capacity to deal with the reception of irregular migrants.

Read the full report and the adopted resolution on the website of the Parliamentary Assembly.

The Plenary of the Parliamentary Assembly also approved Draft Protocol no. 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights and agreed that it can be adopted by the Committee of Ministers and opened for signature and ratification without amendment. The Plenary has thus endorsed the opinion of its Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. See the opinion of the Assembly here.

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Parliamentary Assembly
Council of Europe
Committee of Ministers
Charter of Fundamental Rights