Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Oscars sneak peek: 'Call Me By Your Name', 'I, Tonya' and 'Darkest Hour'

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Are the French rude, or is it a big misunderstanding?

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Gun control in the US: A glimmer of compromise?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Opposition activist Evan Mawarire: Zimbabweans hope they can 'reset our future'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Donald Trump's cheat sheet

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Powerless in Syria' or 'Complicit in the bombings'?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Tightening grip: French government unveils controversial migrant law

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Ford executive ousted over misconduct

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

More than 100 Nigerian schoolgirls still missing after Boko Haram attack

Read more

Europe

France and Europe 'shameful' over refugees, terror response

© Denis Charlet, AFP | A migrant walks past a makeshift restaurant in the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, on February 23, 2016.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-02-24

European countries' "shameful" response to the migrant crisis and their counter-terrorism policies risk undermining their historic commitment to human rights, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday, singling out France for particular criticism.

The London-based campaign group, traditionally more used to lambasting dictatorships for rights abuses, used its annual report to take some of the world's oldest democracies to task.

Several countries in the European Union's passport-free Schengen area have reimposed border controls in response to a huge wave of migrants and refugees fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

"That Europe, which is the richest bloc in the world, is not able to take care of the basic rights of some of the most persecuted people in the world, is shameful," said Amnesty Secretary General Salil Shetty.

He called for safe, legal routes for people to reach Europe and said they should be treated on a case by case basis, not subjected to "collective punishment".

"The majority of countries, with the honourable exception perhaps of Germany, have simply decided that the protection of their borders is more important than the protection of the rights of refugees," added Amnesty's Europe director John Dalhuisen.

French ‘shortcuts’

Amnesty also expressed alarm about fresh counter-terrorism laws being introduced across Europe, in particular the "rights-sapping" state of emergency implemented in France after jihadist gunmen attacked Paris in November, killing 130 people.

The measure allows the interior minister to place under house arrest any person whose behaviour is considered "a threat to security and public order" and to order searches of homes at any hour without involving the court.

"This is curbing free expression, it is curbing free movement of people," Shetty told AFP.

"Everybody understands that the French government has to respond to this reality. But a government that has historically championed human rights can't take shortcuts."

UN’s ‘systemic failure’

More broadly, Amnesty warned that the international system that protected human rights was itself under threat.

Many governments were ignoring, undermining or using their vetos to reduce the impact of protections afforded by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and other regional rights mechanisms, the group warned.

"The Syrian conflict is one horrific example of the catastrophic human consequences of a systemic failure of the UN to fulfill its vital role in upholding rights and international law and ensuring accountability," it said.

Shetty added: "The system that has been very carefully built over 70 years to protect human rights now needs to be protected from a wholesale attack."

He urged world leaders to provide more political support and funding for the systems that uphold international law, and to back a reforming new UN secretary general when Ban Ki-moon's term expires at the end of this year.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2016-02-24

  • FRANCE

    Belgium reinstates France border checks over Calais 'Jungle' fears

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French parliament extends state of emergency to May 26

    Read more

  • PARIS ATTACKS

    Are French civil liberties another victim of Paris attacks?

    Read more

COMMENT(S)