EU must rethink migration policy that empowers "unaccountable militias and regimes", say rights groups


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A coalition of civil society organisations working for democracy and human rights in Africa have accused the EU and its member states of empowering "unaccountable militias and regimes" and "undermining rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and the role of civil society" through activities undertaken as part of the EU-driven 'Khartoum Process' and the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

In an open letter addressed to Donald Tusk and other high-level EU officials in the run-up to the European Council meeting next week, over 20 different rights groups take aim at the Khartoum Process, designed to address the root causes of migration in the Horn of Africa; and the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, introduced after the 2015 Valletta Conference between EU and African Union heads of state.

The letter says the EU's externalised migration policies in Sudan have "directly benefitted and emboldened militia such as [the] Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the former Janjiweed by their own admission," who have "allegedly raped and murdered hundreds of protesters in recent months" during attempts to repress the uprising in the sub-Saharan state.

The letter also cites five different legal cases recently brought against the EU and its member states, concerning the funding of detention centres in Libya; support for the 'Libyan Coast Guard'; attempts to block rescue missions in the Mediterranean; the funding of projects using forced labour in Eritrea; and most recently the submission to the International Criminal Court concerning crimes resulting from EU policies in the Central Mediterranean and Libya.

The signatories call for the EU's long-term planning - the broad terms of which will be signed off by the European Council next week - "to respond to the serious concerns expressed over the impact of ongoing actions of the EU and its member states to fund and cooperate with external actors accused of systematic and severe human rights violations."

"Failure to do so," warns the letter, "will not only undermine the fundamental principles and values of the Union, but fail to achieve the inteded objectives. We therefore ask that the EU retracts the activities under the Khartoum Process and its Trust Fund, established under a seriously flawed policy."

See: Appeal for an EU external policy framework based on European values (pdf), signed by:

Act for Sudan
Al-Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment (KACE)
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
Connection e.V.
Darfur Bar Association
Eritrea Democratica
Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa (EDEA)
Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR)
Europe External Programme with Africa
Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans
Horn of Africa Civil Society Forum (HoACS)
Human Rights Concern - Eritrea (HRCE)
Ibn Rushd Fund e.V.
Investors Against Genocide
Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur
Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society (RCDCS)
Skills for Nuba MOUNTAINS
Stop Genocide Now (SGN)
Sudanese Community and Information Centre - London
Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG)
Sudan Revolution Support Network - Sweden

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