EU Asylum: Seek positive asylum policies, end 'Fortress Europe' mentality
The organisation is concerned at reports that drastic and ill-thought-out asylum measures running counter to international human rights standards are to be discussed at the meeting.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
'Talk of sending warships into the Mediterranean, of ever-tighter border controls and of limiting aid to countries thought 'uncooperative' in taking back unsuccessful asylum applicants - unrealistic or unlawful as such moves may be - creates a climate of heightened public anxiety.
Politicians should be establishing high, uniform asylum standards across the European Union, not indulging in scare-mongering.
Any attempt to balance the objectives of security and immigration control with human rights ideals and protection obligations, appears to have been thrown overboard.'
Figures released last month by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees showed that the number of people claiming asylum in EU countries has nearly halved in the ten-year period 1992-2001.
'Rather than deal sensibly with asylum levels far lower than a decade ago, EU politicians appear ready to sacrifice the legally protected right to seek asylum for the sake of Europe's further fortification,' continued Kate Allen.
'The full asylum story needs to be told. A tiny - and falling - fraction of the world's asylum-seekers ever reach the rich countries of the European Union yet the EU appears to be resentful of even this contribution to protecting some of the world's most vulnerable people.'
Amnesty International UK and five other organisations have recently commissioned a MORI opinion poll of attitudes to asylum in the United Kingdom. This shows that public opinion is broadly sympathetic towards asylum-seekers and refugees yet the general public lacks detailed knowledge on the issue. Amnesty International believes that the poll shows that politicians and others need to do more to inform the general public concerning asylum and more to combat misunderstanding and prejudice.