Arbitrariness is what migrants are facing every day, all around the world. Not being a citizen means almost everywhere, North and South, not being able to defend your rights, to call a union representative, to hire a lawyer, to access the justice system, to contest decisions made by anyone wielding some power, be it an employer, a landlord, a lawyer, a judge, a police officer, a border guard, a private security guard, or even an ordinary citizen in the street. This is why migrants most often lay low, won’t stick their neck out, and will simply move on when attacked, abused or defrauded. Fighting back isn’t really an option when one risks detection, detention and deportation.
I’ll be presenting Monday my report to the Human Rights Council: it bears on the protection of the rights of migrants at the external borders of the EU and is a follow-up of my report of 2013.
Maintaining the status quo is unsustainable as the human and resource costs associated with it are huge. Migrants lose their lives or if they survive they experience inexplicable suffering, exploitation and the violation of a series of rights. Furthermore, significant resources are lost through member states investing into an ineffective system that overwhelmingly focuses on securitisation and not maximising the opportunities offered by migration at a time of significant demographic, economic and social challenges in the EU.
This decision is an indictment of a government-designed legal framework that creates a status of precariousness for migrants and fosters impunity for abusive employers. This decision also underscores the importance of access to justice for migrants, as they have no access to the political stage and are under constant threat of being detected, detained and deported. It is great to see the unions getting into gear in favour of migrant workers. Let’s hope that policy makers will do the hard thinking requested after such a decision, and will not simply try to further block access by migrants to such independent review mechanisms.
The figures in this plan aren’t high enough by far, but it is a start:
- 40.000 relocations from Italy and Greece, over the next two years
- 20.000 resettlements from presumably Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, over the next two years
In response to the article ‘French Muslims Say Veil Bans Give Cover to Bias‘ which appeared in the New York Times on May 26, 2015:
As the history of countries like the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada demonstrates, there is no integration for marginalised communities, such as migrants or aboriginals (to take two contrasting situations), which is not based on the principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination. A discrimination is a decision that creates a distinction between one person and the other members of society. Many distinctions are justifiable and have been recognised by courts as justified: the right to vote at 18, prenatal care for women only, pension at 65… Freedom of religion includes the freedom to express one’s religion, as long as one doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.