Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture highlights ‘inhuman’ treatment of migrants in latest report

A group of refugees crammed into a small dinghy that's travelling across the Channel
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On 30 March, Europe’s top rights body blasted the “inhuman” treatment of migrants who were brutally turned away at its borders. This is especially true of the external borders of EU territory.

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture’s (CPT) annual report said that border forces had beaten migrants. They also suffered:

punches, slaps, blows with truncheons, other hard objects… by police or border guards…

Other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment were also deployed, such as firing bullets close to the persons’ bodies while they lay on the ground.

It said other tactics included:

pushing them into rivers (sometimes with their hands still tied), removal of their clothes and shoes and forcing them to walk barefoot and/or in their underwear and, in some cases, even fully naked across the border.

The CPT said it found “increasing numbers” of people who claimed they were pushed back from the European frontier by force.

Read on...

CPT head Alan Mitchell said:

Many European countries face very complex migration challenges at their borders, but this does not mean they can ignore their human rights obligations. Pushbacks are illegal, unacceptable and must end.

The committee visited police, border and coastguard posts, detention centres, and transit areas on the main migratory routes to Europe.

The CPT called on the Council of Europe’s member states to guarantee migrants’ rights. This would involve registering each individual, providing medical and vulnerability assessments, and offering people the opportunity to apply for asylum. Moreover, the CPT added that:

Detention should only be used as a measure of last resort

46 countries make up the Council of Europe. The watchdog excluded Russia after its invasion of Ukraine last year. However, it remains a party to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture.

More than a million people arrived in Europe during the 2015-16 refugee crisis. The number of attempts by migrants to enter Europe hit 330,000 in 2022. This is up 64% from the previous year, the EU’s border agency Frontex said. And, as NGO Climate Refugees reported, this situation is only going to become more urgent:

Every day vulnerable people are forcibly displaced due to impacts generated by climate change. This isn’t something that will happen, this is something happening now.

Numerous studies, like The World Bank, forecast a grim picture of internal displacement in the millions, as the adverse effects of climate change induce more extreme weather, rising sea levels, threaten food security and impact livelihoods.

As we are seeing play out now, it is the poorest and most vulnerable communities – those who contributed the least to global warming – that are paying the price and are hit hardest by this crisis.

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse
Featured image via YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Britain’s racist elites – those who write for the Mail, the Sun and the Express, for example – should be campaigning hard for the UK to return to the cold embrace of the European Union. After all, it’s the EU’s callous agencies that work so hard to ensure large numbers of desperate poor children, women and men drown in the Mediterranean or are forced back into Libya where they endure miseries beyond our comprehension in the camps that the EU has set up. Nice British liberals who ache with longing for Britain to rejoin the Union should think again.

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