On World Refugee Day, ActionAid International condemns the moves being made by governments around the world to step up their fight against migrants and refugees. In the past few days alone we have seen images of children being ripped out of their mother’s arms and put into cages along the US – Mexico border, and a rescue ship teeming with hundreds of people turned away from Italian ports.
Behind these pictures are human beings fighting for their basic rights to life and dignity. Most of them are women and children who are suffering grave abuses. All of them are being met with systemic injustice that violates international human rights law and humanitarian principles.
ActionAid International calls on European leaders to wholeheartedly reject the proposal by EU Council President Donald Tusk to create so-called “processing centres” to detain migrants outside Europe’s borders. A similar policy introduced by Australia has subjected refugees to unimaginable suffering and isolation. We call on European leaders to instead find a way to share responsibility for asylum seekers among all member states, based on principles of solidarity and equity.
We also call on Europe to stop funding the Libyan coast guard to chase migrants and send them back to detention centres in Libya where horrific abuses are being perpetrated.
We call on Italy’s Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, to drop plans to register and expel Roma people living in Italy and instead plan together with civil society how best to integrate all minorities, including migrants, who are a resource for the country.
We call on US President Donald Trump to drop the so-called zero tolerance policy that is resulting in the forced separation of children from their families on the Mexican border, and find a sustainable pathway for undocumented people to continue to contribute to America’s success with their full rights protected.
Our experience in both the home countries and receiving countries of migrants tells us that walls, barbed wires and guns will not stop desperate people from seeking a better future. Instead, we call on all governments to focus on ending the violent conflicts, climate change, land grabbing, tax avoidance and rising inequalities that are all pushing people to leave their homes and risk their lives.