The Bureau of the association of European Democratic Lawyers (AED-EDL), meeting in Athens on May 7th, 2016, in view of the flagrant violation of fundamental rights by member states of the EU as well as by the Greek state and of the constant influx of people in need of International Protection, has decided to release the following statement:


  1. The closure of EU borders, which encourages all types of mafia and forces people to risk their lives to reach Europe, is absolutely contrary to the fundamental principles recognized in the Declaration of Human Rights and Right to Asylum and the Geneva Convention signed by all member states. Similarly, the closure of European Borders is contrary to European norms.
  1. The absence of a humanitarian corridor to enable the safe passage of those forced into migration as well as the absence of application of legal remedies to this situation demonstrates absolute disregard for human life and respect of international law.
  1. The lack of foresight and the foot-dragging in the implementation of the Schengen visa norms means that thousands of people must entrust their destinies to the mafia while risking their lives and integrity to access the European territory. Meanwhile current regulations already exist to ensure access to the protection of asylum.
  1. The stasis of the EU institutions and the passivity of Member states are unsustainable. They constitute a direct attack to the founding principles of European solidarity and mutual support amongst Member States.
  1. The declaration of Turkey as the first safe country for asylum means the bankruptcy of the right to asylum. The asylum procedure in Greece is currently inexistent; people are kept in detention while their request is pending. They are deprived of their liberty while in most cases their application cannot be filed. And if applications are submitted, they are systematically denied on the grounds that Turkey is considered a safe haven. Expulsions are being made without the slightest guarantee: legal counselling, interpreters, a suspensive procedure ensuring the thorough study of the case, without any guarantees that Turkey will not push them back …
  1. The European Agenda for Migration created by the Commission in May 2015, continues to focus on policies of expulsion, detention and criminalization of displaced people. The common European system is still based on the application of the Dublin III Regulation, and is currently in the process of further modification. This set of mechanisms of European policy has already shown its ineffectiveness.
  1. As an association of European lawyers’ associations, involved in defending the rights of all people and thus in the same way of forced migrants who reach the external borders of the EU, we demand:
  • The scrupulous respect for the right of asylum enshrined in international law.

  • The opening of safe transit routes for people fleeing.

  • Unlocking the granting of visas for humanitarian reasons and as well as diplomatic asylum.

  • The revocation of the EU-Turkey agreement, which is expulsing displaced people outside European borders to a State that does not fully respect human rights.

  • The formulation of a European immigration policy on the basis of integration, the recognition of the right to migration and the gradual European integration hubs, recognition of the right to migrate and gradual equal rights and duties with other EU citizens.


Athens, May 7, 2016

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