Day by day, the European crisis of rule of law is continuously entrenching. The most obvious aspect is the scandalous situation of migrants and refugees.

As lawyers we are deeply concerned about this disrespect of the rule of law in Europe. In all member states we observe practices of illegal returns of refugees, pushbacks, inhuman conditions on the Greek or Spanish islands, violations of core procedural guarantees resulting in a denial of the most basic protection of refugees. 

European Institutions and Governments of EU member states allow and later regulate unlawful practices concerning the rights of refugees and migrants.

The European Pact on Asylum and Migration proposed by the European Commission in September 2020 is not an answer. The proposed weekly monitoring mechanisms are not instruments strong enough to counter the illegal practices of Frontex or of European States. As lawyers we reject the European perception of migration and the search of protection as a mere „problem to solve“ once for all.

States violating human rights such as Turkey and Libya should not receive any support under the mask of “European solidarity and support of third states”.  The European Union bears responsibility for the situation in these states as well.

Colonial type agreements and arrangements with politically and economically weaker states of Africa are not in the interest of these nations nor do they fulfill the responsibility of EU to protect refugees.

Hidden agreements such as the EU-Turkey Statement illustrate the lack of democracy in the EU and set the base for the systematic violation of core international and EU laws. States like Turkey, a main actor in the conflict inside Syria and responsible directly and/or indirectly of war crimes and gross human rights abuses and violations, use such arrangements in order to enhance their geopolitical bargaining power and uses refugees as pawns. 

We call on our societies to oppose this fundamental attack on the rule of law.

We demand:

–  that externalization policies and methods transferring the responsibility to protect refugees to third states stop immediately;

– that the European Commission open proceedings for treaty violations against Hungary and Greece and any Member State who collaborates in treaty violations;

– that the Frontex Agency be dismantled immediately and that those responsible for illegal activities be brought before justice.

– that reception facilities and asylum procedures respect human dignity, as well as the free choice of  refugees to decide where to search for protection within Europe.

13th of February 2021

Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Athens, Istanbul, Izmir