Published on 28 April 2015
Following the unprecedented loss of an estimated 1,600 migrant lives in the Mediterranean in the first months of this year, heads of EU governments adopted a statement in a Special European Council meeting on 23 April 2015. The statement outlines the Council’s priorities aimed at “preventing further loss of life at sea and to tackle the root causes of the human emergency that we face”.
However, it highlights commitments towards increased securitisation of the external borders of the European Union and, among other priorities, commits to reinforcing Frontex-led operations in the Mediterranean and to the establishment of a “new return programme” for rapid return of irregular migrants to be coordinated by Frontex.
Processes of returning undocumented migrants to their countries of origin have been of great concern to PICUM and many of its members in recent years. Conditions of migrants in detention, including the detention of children in some countries, a lack of legal aid and violence during forced removals are examples where migrants face human rights violations in the process of return.
Standards and procedures applicable to persons subject to a return decision are currently regulated by Directive 2008/115/EC on “common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals”, also reffered to a EU Return Directive.
PICUM’s new Position Paper on the EU Return Directive(Directive 2008/115/EC on “common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals”) published on 28 April 2015 highlights these concerns.