Tampere and The Hague, the Stockholm program will constitute the next
5-year-framework for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) within the EU and
its member states. The new program claims to build up the ‘area of
freedom, justice and security’, but in fact it will continue to
implement an even tighter regime of surveillance and control and will
promote a securitisation of social life, undermining all civil rights
and privacy despite contrary claims. On monday the 30th of november and
tuesday the 1st of december a number of actions and other events was held in Brussels to protest against this new 5 year programme of death and detention.
The bordermonitoring project participated in these protests and published a press release:
Brussels, 30 November 2009
So far, the case of the Eastern borders of the European Union raises
less attention than the southern sea borders. This is because the
situation on the land borders is less dramatic, less visible and less
tragic as few refugees and other vulnerable migrants lose their life in
search of protection. The situation in the borderlands of Ukraine,
Hungary and Slovakia, however, raises major concerns.
Large-scale unlawful return from Hungary and Slovakia
In 2006, according to Ukrainian authorities, 1,400 asylum seekers
were refused access to protection in Hungary and Slovakia and
unlawfully returned to Ukraine.
- In June 2008, a young Somali man, age 22, crossed the border to
Hungary illegally and was apprehended. He claimed international
protection, “please, help” he asked. Within 12 hours he was returned to
Ukraine. There he was held at a border guard station for 48 hours,
insulted and beaten. Subsequently, he was detained for a total of 8
- In June 2009, an Afghan boy, age 16, half-orphan, entered Hungary
clandestinely with the aim to find international protection. He was
apprehended by the policy, interrogated by border police, and returned
to Ukraine within 24 hours. There he has no relatives, is placed in a
refugee reception centre where he receives no counseling or schooling.
- In July 2009, a young Somali girl, age 16, entered Hungary
clandestinely from Ukraine. She was apprehended and applied for asylum;
nevertheless she was returned back to Ukraine within 24 hours.
Unviable conditions for refugees and other vulnerable migrants in Ukraine
In Ukraine, the asylum system is corrupt and asylum seekers have to pay
bribes at any stage; recognition rates are as low is 1-3 percent; there
is no subsidiary protection for refugees from war regions. Asylum
seekers and refugees have no or limited access to regular housing,
health care, benefits of any kind, regular employment, education or
language classes. Clandestine border crossers are detained for six
month and even beyond the legal maximum indiscriminately whether they
are refugees or economic migrants. Standards of detention facilities
are often in violation of human rights. For example, Chop detention
centre holds 33 detainees in a 25 m² room who share 16 beds; there is
only one toilet but no bathroom. Food rations are on less than €1/day
and detainees are generally malnourished.
Asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in need of international
protection, including unaccompanied minors and young women are
frequently pushed back from Hungary and Slovakia to Ukraine. This is a
gross violation of the Geneva refugee convention as well as the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ukraine is not a safe country
for asylum seekers, refugees and other vulnerable migrants and they
should not be returned to Ukraine.