EU: Tracking the Pact: Lawyers denounce "deadly" screening proposals


The French Bar Association has denounced EU proposals for accelerated asylum screening procedures at the borders as "deadly", and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe has also expressed serious concerns over the plans.

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A report adopted by the general assembly of the Conseil National des Barraux earlier this month has the following to say about the proposed "screening" rules that would introduce detention at or near the EU's borders (emphasis added):

"In contrast to the respect of the oldest law, the law of hospitality, the screening procedure procedure proposed by the European Commission would constitute an additional barrier in the the journey of the person wishing to travel to Europe and would be located before the the EU's external borders; it would be introduced solely in the interest of the Member States and to the detriment of the exiled persons.

Indeed, the identification phase is likely to irreversibly prevent people from exercising certain fundamental rights. Thus, asylum seekers risk never being able to register their claim for international protection, even if they are minors, who should clearly be in the care of child protection services.

Furthermore, the regime applicable during screening operations blatantly disregards the essential guarantees of the individual, in the absence of a legal framework and legal assistance.

Similarly, the proposed new border procedure would in fact increase the number of cases where so-called "accelerated" asylum procedures are applied, in which procedural guarantees are often ignored, or at the very least greatly diminished.

These reforms would have a negative impact on the legislation currently in force in France, the guarantees of which would be seriously undermined.

In line with its long-standing commitment to ensuring access to rights for exiled persons and rights of exiled persons and the sheltering of unaccompanied minors, the CNB therefore wishes to to take advantage of France's presidency of the European Union to denounce the deadly effects of of this Pact on Migration and Asylum and to work for its amendment in the respect of fundamental rights and fundamental rights and the rule of law."

The Council of Bar and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has also recently criticised the proposed screening rules:

"The CCBE would also like to express its concern about the complete lack of clear information and recognition about what the legal status of the third country nationals subject to the screening will be, i.e., are they detainees?2What rights will be recognised for them during the days in which they can be subject to screenings? Will the rights of any detained person be recognised? What will happen if after the 5 days established for carrying out the screening, including the extension period, the control has not been carried out? What legal situation will they find themselves in, and what legal guarantees will they have?"

The paper goes on to say demand the establishment of a set of "common minimum standards" in relation to a number of rights:

  1. The right to be informed of their rights 
  2. The right to be heard
  3. The right to have access to pertinent documents related to the case
  4. The right to translation and interpretation
  5. The right to legal assistance and legal aid
  6. The right to communication with relatives and consular authorities
  7. The right to an effective remedy and fair trial
  8. Right to special safeguards for vulnerable persons

See: CCBE position on the Proposal for a Regulation introducing a screening ofthird country nationals at the external borders (link to pdf)

The CCBE has also published a position paper on the proposed Asylum Procedure Regulation: CCBE position on the amended proposal for a Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union (link to pdf)

Image: Rasande Tyskar, CC BY-NC 2.0

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