Migrants in the Mediterranean: Protecting Human Rights

In reaction to recurrent tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Union (EU) has adopted a series of  measures seeking to improve the protection of migrants trying to reach the borders of the EU by sea and to share  responsibility among countries  involved  by  increasing cooperation with transit countries. This study focuses on the  existing and planned EU policies and actions to protect the human rights of migrants beforeentering the EU by sea or after they have left the territory of the EU. The picture that emerges from the evaluation of EU policies and actions  is  a mixed one. On the one hand, it cannot be denied that instruments of sea borders surveillance and instruments  of cooperation with third countries have now generally included human rights safeguards.

On the other hand, implementation, monitoring and control remain problematic. Furthermore, the primary aim of  existing EU policies and actions still seems to be the protection of the external borders against so-called ‘illegal’ immigration and the return of illegally staying migrants, rather than the development of effective strategies to protect human rights of migrants and the saving of lives on the Mediterranean. The study therefore offers specific  recommendations to ensure a coherent human rights-based  EU approach to improve the protection of the rights  of  migrants aiming to reach the EU.

European Parliament, Directorate-General for external policies

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