It has been a few days since the “New Pact on migration and asylum” was announced by the European commission.
The key points? Increase in deportations and decrease in respecting the even most basic human rights of asylum seekers. It will make access to fair asylum procedures even more impossible for many. It will potentially replicate the EU-Turkey Deal to other countries.
While presented as “a fresh start”, many things in the pact are unfortunately all too well known already for people here on Lesvos. Being on Lesvos, it seems they have taken everything that’s bad and broken here and tried to transfer it to an institutional European Level to ensure suffering for all who attempt to get to Europe.
“No more Moria” they promised but simultaniously, in true doublespeak fashion, make it clear that at the same time what they are aiming for is in fact not Moria, but something far worse. They intend to strip asylum seekers of all of their self determination and rights to a fair procedure. No more Moria not because Moria was a human rights violation but because people were still too “free”, by their standards. No more Moria’s but more prisons. No More moria but more and faster deportation. No more Moria, but more electronic surveillance, security checks and identity verification. No more Moria but more suffering and death.
In their proposal released on the 23.09 the European commission presents their plans to establish pre-entry screenings and border procedures for all asylum seekers that come irregularly through a external border. People from a country with less than 20% acceptance rate will be detained, entered into a fast tracked procedure and returned.
On Lesvos, detention upon arrival based on nationality and fast track procedures have already started a while ago and been gradually intensified until this day. We can see the consequences – people not having access to fair procedures, not having access to any legal support and prolonged periods in prison – from arrival until deportation. This is not just problematic in a legal sense but had very direct, dire consequences for the affected people. While European commission promises more fair and transparent procedures we clearly see the exact opposite. People are being rejected without even knowing how the asylum procedure works. Not to speak of their rights in the procedure. This takes a huge toll on their mental health. As has been seen very sadly on Lesvos, detention (upon arrival) creates severe misery – and endangers the life of the detainees.
Also the Commission praises the EU Turkey Deal and promises more “continued and sustained EU funding” for Turkey. A lot has been written about this Deal – and we do not have to repat that giving money to Erdogan in order for him to commit human rights breaches towards refugees for the EU is utterly unacceptable. To repeat this with other actors as the EU “promises” gives us sleepless nights.
“At least if they [the iranien government] would have killed me I wouldn’t have to die like this here. Piece by piece” says one asylum seekers.
While some argue that the situation here on Lesvos is not compatible with European values, we see it the opposite. This are the European values. The situation of refugees on Lesvos is the European values displayed for all of us to see. It is European value to kill the people slowly slowly every day so no new people will take the risk to migrate to Europe. It is an example made on the people here to stop everyone else. It is the ugly face of the core European values – colonialism and racism.
We are scared in of the future this new pact will bring. While we are still unsure how exactly it will be implemented one thing is sure – it will be a nightmare.