EU Asylum and Immigration Apr05

 

An Iraqi Christian fleeing persecution has no idea of how he was rescued out of northern Iraq. When the lorry is checked at the Austrian/German border, he crawls out without passport or money. He does not speak any European languages except a little English. Which EU country will take responsibility for him Germany or, as required by the EU Dublin Convention, Hungary as the country of first entry?

A Somali woman, gang raped and threatened with death by local militia, escapes on a flight to London via Frankfurt. She is refused entry by UK immigration and sent back to Germany as her first country for EU entry. Alas, Germany cannot grant her asylum as she is not fleeing from state persecution as there is no government in Somalia!

The 1951 UN Convention on Asylum defines a refugee as a person who is fleeing persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, political or social opinion/action. All 25 EU Member States are signatory to this Convention and are obliged to offer such protection from persecution, including residency, to any one arriving on their border.

Every one has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution article16, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In fact, the whole of Europe receives only 5 per cent of the world's total refugees  and potential asylum-seekers as the vast majority simply end up in neighbouring countries. For example, millions of Tanzanians live below the poverty line and yet they have been overwhelmed by 500,000 refugees who need land, water, food, sanitation, medication and shelter. These countries do not have the means to seal their borders or repatriate refugees. This hospitality contrasts sharply with the EUs response to asylum seekers.

 Every one is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal article 10, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

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Every one has the right to work article 23 (1), Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Legislation to inform, receive and process applications from asylum seekers should enable genuine asylum seekers to be identified quickly so that they can seek employment to be self-reliant. Unnecessary delay prolongs their dependence on the state and generates hostility in local communities where they are detained.

Hunger kills as a soldier's bullet. If millions of Europeans, including the Irish, could escape poverty, famine and religious persecution as they sailed to settle in USA, Canada and Australia, why should we deny those who risk their lives to seek the same today?

Controlled immigration on a fair and transparent basis is necessary and beneficial for the EU. Commonwealth migrants in transport, health and commerce in the UK, Turkish workers in German factories and North Africans in agriculture, transport, tourism and services in France have contributed substantially to the economies of these EU Member States. Many immigrants are  assigned duties at night, weekends and public holidays. They do jobs that local people are either unwilling or unavailable to undertake. They pay taxes, occupy poorer accommodation and spend a large proportion of their income on services that sustains the local community. Their contribution supports welfare payments and pensions of an ageing population in the country where they work and live. An increasing number of immigrants start up their own businesses, directly creating new jobs and more tax revenue. Today, the richest man in UK is an economic migrant from India and he is joined by so many other immigrants in the UKs list of 1000 richest people.

Genuine asylum seekers, skilled economic migrants and immigrants who are legally settled or born and bred in their adopted countries should not be portrayed as criminals by either politicians seeking cheap publicity or irresponsible journalists. Illegal entry at ports and airports in any country, especially an island like Britain, reflects the failure of governments who should monitor foreign arrivals and departures. EU politicians must learn from the experience of the USA, Canada and Australia who continue to manage successfully an increasing flow of immigrants that gives them the economic growth and prosperity.