[Stop-traffic] News/Europe: Traffickers often refugees' last resort to reach Europe

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Europe: Traffickers often refugees' last resort to reach Europe
From: Laura Rusu (rusul@hrw.org)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 21:33:06 EDT


Friday, July 7 11:02 PM SGT

Traffickers often refugees' last resort to reach Europe:

GENEVA, July 7 (AFP) -

Human trafficking is the only escape route for many refugees seeking
protection in Europe from
persecution, a new independent study released here Friday said, pointing
to "blanket enforcement"

The report commissioned by the Geneva-based UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR),
called on European countries to review their migration and asylum
policies to find ways of opening
other channels to refugees.

"There are very few legal possibilities for refugees to enter the
European Union, and so the
majority are required to attempt ever more clandestine forms of entry,"
said the 100-page report,
written by British-based human rights and migration expert John

"Fundamentally the report is saying there's a contradiction, an absolute
contradiction, between
current enforcement policies and the right to asylum," Morrison told
reporters here.

"And in effect there is no right to asylum if you can't get here and
there's no legal means of doing
so," he added.

But Morrison stressed he was not advocating a relaxation of European
asylum policy or
international laws against trafficking or smuggling.

Criminals exploiting the human rights of migrants deserve the "full
weight of international justice",
the report said.

"I am saying that there need to be at the same time legal, and other
opportunities for refugees and
asylum-seekers to come here," he told the news conference.

Initiatives are needed for resettling vulnerable refugees, Morrison
suggested. European countries
could also consider how their consulates and embassies could better help
genuine refugees, he

"Any comprehensive approach that tackles trafficking and smuggling
successfully requires legal
and safe migration opportunities for all refugees, as well as necessary
enforcement measures," the
summary of the report said.

It lamented "the effects of blanket enforcement measures" such as common
visa policies,
readmission treaties and airline liaison officers.

Morrison also highlighted the effect of a clamp-down on forged
documents, saying Oscar
Schindler, who helped Jews escape Nazi death camps in World War II,
might now be called a
trafficker or smuggler.

"If it's no longer possible as a refugee to gain access to an airplane
with a forged passport, then
your options might be being locked in the back of a lorry as the Chinese
were," he said.

Fifty-eight Chinese stowaways were found dead last month inside a truck
after suffocating to
death trying to sneak into Britain.

Laura Ioana Rusu
Women's Rights Division
Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 202-612-4350
Fax: 202-612-4333
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