People move to Europe for different reasons. Some flee persecution or war. Others try to abandon a life of chronic poverty. They hope to find a better, safer future here. But many never make it, partly because Europe’s border control measures are often enforced with little regards to the harm they might cause.
Last year, at least 1,500 men, women and children drowned in the Mediterranean struggling to reach Europe, according to Amnesty International. Some of these deaths could have been avoided if rescue attempts had been made in time.
In recent years, some survivors have been forced back to countries where they faced abuse and ill-treatment. On several occasions Italy pushed back people to Libya where they were detained and mistreated. In an environment where there is little transparency or oversight, human rights abuses often go unpunished along Europe’s coasts and borders.
In response, Amnesty International is launching a new campaign to highlight the plight of ‘people on the move’. The When you don’t exist campaign will call on the EU’s governments and institutions to stop exposing people to danger on Europe’s borders.
Nicolas Beger, director of Amnesty’s European Institutions Office, said: “For the EU, reinforcing Europe’s borders clearly trumps saving lives. By attempting to curb ‘irregular migration’, European countries have bolstered border control measures beyond European frontiers without regard to the human cost. Far from public view, these measures put people at risk of serious abuse.”
The campaign includes an online public petition to MEPs, urging them to fulfill their ‘watchdog’ role and hold governments and institutions accountable for how they treat migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in border areas.
Find out more here.