Margaret Lally, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The communication has rightly acknowledged that many unanswered questions remain about the Government’s proposals to establish transit processing centres and regional protection zones. These include legal, financial and practical concerns that have already been raised by the Refugee Council.
“Our position remains that the UK proposals are unprincipled, unworkable and amount to a shifting, rather than sharing, of responsibility. As the Immigration Minister has recognised, some of the poorest countries in the world already provide safety to well over 70 per cent of refugees worldwide. The only sure way to prevent trade in human misery is for Europe to provide safe and effective protection within its borders.
“If the current UK proposals go ahead, important safeguards present in the current system will be lost. There is a real danger refugees will be left out of sight and out of mind”.
At the European Council summit in Brussels on 20th – 21st March 2003, the European Council noted the letter (pdf) from the United Kingdom on new approaches to international protection and invited the Commission to explore these ideas further, in particular with UNHCR, and to report through the Council to the European Council meeting in June 2003. The Commission’s Communication is the result of this further exploration of the issues.
Read ECRE’s comment on the issues in the paper, Justice & Home Affairs Council 5-6 June: EU Asylum Policies at the end of the Greek Presidency (pdf)
Read a paper published by the Royal Institute for International Affairs, The Missing Link, the need for comprehensive engagement in regions of refugee origin, which critiques the UK’s recent proposals (pdf)
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