Statewatch News online: Cimade: Against Humiliating Chartered Flights

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EU: Appeal to European Parliament Against Humiliating Chartered Flights

Over 100 NGOs have signed an appeal to the European Parliament calling on it to reject a measure - already agreed by the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council at its meeting on 6 November 2003 - allowing joint chartered flights for removal of migrants. The text agreed by the Council has not been publicly released - however it is available here: Full-text of measure agreed at JHA Council on 6 November: 14025/03 (pdf)

List of signatories
Charter of humiliation in French, Spanish, Italian and German

November 2003

"The council of the European Union has just reached a political agreement on a text organising joint chartered flights for removal of migrants before the European Parliament has given its opinion on the text.

We are categorically opposed to this.

Our strong opposition to these means of collective expulsion is motivated by the conviction that they symbolise and encourage an uncontrollable and dangerous logic, as far as the integrity and dignity of individuals, democracy in Europe and the future of the relations between the people of our nations are concerned.

Collective expulsions by chartered flights necessarily undermine the examination of the individual situation with the risk of underestimating the consequences of forced return on individuals and undermining fundamental rights. Moreover, using constraint to execute these collective returns is impossible without using coercive measures, which can at any given time; escalate into brutality, violence and threat to the physical integrity and even death of those being expelled.

Furthermore, expulsions by chartered flights are the symbol and incarnation of a European policy centred on repressive measures. It is now time to assert and to explain to public opinion that a policy centred on “more and more controls” characterises a dead-end and a threat to democracies.

A dead-end because, while the economic and democratic gap between our countries remain, it is an illusion to think that security measures will be able to discourage and prevent candidates for emigration or asylum to seek a better life or refuge.

A threat because this false belief in the efficiency of police controls can only –as it can be seen in the past 20 years with the continuous hardening of the European legislations- weaken fundamental freedom and the constituent principles of rule of law and leads to the constitution of a repressive regime at the European level.

Ultimately, these forced collective returns have unavoidable consequences on peace.

The symbol of chartered flights used by European governments as a deterrent towards candidate immigrants carries especially a message of humiliation. Images of expelled persons surrounded by dozens of numerous policemen, the numerous testimonies about police brutality, the feeling of injustice and fear of forced returnees are echoed in the countries of origin as a very arrogant attitude towards the whole population.

Such a haughty indifference of the rich countries in treating persons from countries directly hit by conflicts and poverty recalls and revives memories of a collective perception of centuries of domination, exploitation and humiliation. This devastating drama, as far as it feeds resentment, anger and hatred, will sooner or later provoke movements of revolt and new conflicts.

Because of the threat it represents for individual liberties, democracy and relations between people, this policy of chartered flights should be abandoned.

We urgently request the European Parliament to denounce the adoption of the decision on joint flights for removal and the Council to renounce to the text."


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