Migration Pact "will engender a proliferation of human rights violations" and must be rejected


Ahead of Wednesday's final parliamentary vote on the laws that make up the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum, 161 organisations - including Statewatch - have called on MEPs to vote against the new measures. The statement says that the new laws will create "a system whereby the right to seek asylum in the EU is severely threatened and will engender a proliferation of human rights violations," and should be rejected.

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Amidst warnings from over 50 Civil Society Organisations, EU lawmakers reached a political agreement on the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum in December. The agreement is a continuation of a decade of policy that has led to the proliferation of rights violations in Europe. Moreover, it will have devastating implications for the right to international protection in the bloc and greenlights abuses across Europe including racial profiling, default de facto detention and pushbacks. Next week, MEPs will be presented with a final chance to reject the files in a Plenary vote, and to give a political signal against the adoption of a Pact that would undermine fundamental rights.

Taken together, the Regulations will usher in a new system for ‘managing migration’ in the EU that is characterised by:

  • De facto detention at borders with no exemption for families with children of all ages, accelerated, substandard procedures to assess asylum claims rather than full and fair assessments, and an emphasis on return procedures with lowered safeguards.
  • Far more asylum applicants will end up in border procedures and, through the ‘legal fiction of non-entry’, will not be considered as on EU territory, which would lead to lower safeguards and heightens the risk of human rights violations and pushbacks at borders. Even unaccompanied children can be subjected to border procedures and held in de facto detention when state authorities consider them a ‘danger to national security or public order’. Moreover, experience has shown that confining large numbers of people in border areas for prolonged periods leads to chronic overcrowding and inhumane conditions, as witnessed on the Aegean islands.
  • Through the broadening of the ‘safe third country’ principle, people asking for asylum will be declared inadmissible and increasingly deported to countries outside of the EU on the basis of a widely-defined connection with those countries, heightening the risk of refoulement.  In the past, this has manifested in failed agreements like the EU-Turkey deal, externalising the processing of asylum claims to third countries.
  • In the absence of safe and regular pathways, people seeking safety or livelihoods are forced to take ever more dangerous routes, resulting in 2023 being the deadliest year on record since 2015. In the Mediterranean alone, more than 2,500 individuals were reported as dead or disappeared last year, a figure that is only the tip of the iceberg. The Pact fails to address this, and instead continues to reinforce Fortress Europe.
  • An increase in the use of surveillance technologies at all stages of migration and asylum procedures. The Pact represents a step further into the mass surveillance of migrants and racialised people, as more intrusive technology will be deployed at borders and in detention centres, people’s personal data will be collected in bulk and exchanged between police forces across the EU, or biometric identification systems will be used to track people’s movements and increase policing of undocumented migrants. 

Civil society and human rights watchdogs have consistently reported on systematic violations of the fundamental rights of people seeking safety or livelihood, particularly racialised communities by denying them access to shelter, services, and asylum and resorting to pushbacks en masse. All this, whilst pursuing policies that seek to criminalise efforts to help refugees and migrants, and even movement at large, which contributes to a shrinking civic space. The Commission put forth the New Pact as a ‘solution’ for uneven standards in the implementation of a Common European Asylum System across Member States. Yet, the Pact does nothing to remedy this nor support Member States receiving large numbers of arrivals at the external borders. The ‘first country of entry’ principle remains and there will be no mandatory relocation of people saved through Search and Rescue missions – an initiative that could have provided humane and sustainable solutions through the proportionate distribution of asylum applicants throughout Europe. Instead, Member States without external EU borders can avoid responsibility-sharing by financing border fortification and immigration detention facilities in border Member States or by funding dubious ‘projects’ in non-EU countries.

The negotiations were rushed towards closure by the European Commission and the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies of the Council, leading to more than 48 hours of marathon trilogue negotiations and the abandonment of the last minimal safeguards that had been upheld by the Parliament. What remains is an extremely complex legislative framework that does not provide any effective solution to the migration management issues raised over the past years, and fails to keep people safe. The agreement, at its core, replicates every principle of the Council’s negotiating mandate.

We, the undersigned, call on MEPs to reject the Pact in the Plenary vote. It creates a system whereby the right to seek asylum in the EU is severely threatened and will engender a proliferation of human rights violations against people across Europe due to their migration status.

Signing organisations

A World of Neighbours

A.S.G.I. (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione)

Abolish FronteX

Access Now

ActionAid International

aditus foundation

African Children and Youth Development Network (ACYDN)

AiA-Alternative Informatics Association


AMERA International

Amnesty International

Andalucía Acoge


Association for Legal Information (SIP)

Association promotion droits humains (Migration et droit)

Associazione ricreativa e culturale italiana (ARCI)

Avocats Sans Frontières

Be Aware And Share (BAAS)

Better Days Greece

Birlikte Yaşamak İstiyoruz İnisiyatifi (We Want to Live Together İnitiative) / Türkiye (Turkey)

Bits of Freedom

Boat Refugee Foundation

Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

Center for Legal Aid - Voice in Bulgaria

Centre for Peace Studies

Changemakers Lab

Churches´Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)


CIRÉ asbl


Colectivo Indignado

Colectivos en lucha Extremadura

Collective Aid

Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR)

CONVIVE - Fundación Cepaim

Coordinadora Obrim Fronteres

Diotima - Centre for Gender Rights and Equality

Dråpen i Havet / Stagona

Draseis sti Geitonia

E.L. Foundation

ECCHR - European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights





Equal Legal Aid

Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice

Equipo Decenio Afrodescendiente- Spain

EuroMed Rights

European Alternatives

European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN)

European Civic Forum

European Digital Rights (EDRi)

European Network Against Racism

European Sex Workers' Rights Alliance

Extinction rebellion Málaga

Federation of protestant churches in Italy (FCEI)

Fédérations des tunisiens citoyens des deux rives (FTCR)

Fenix Humanitarian Legal Aid

Flucht, interkulturelle Arbeit, Migration, Diakonie Hessen,


From the Sea to the City

Fundación para la Innovación, Investigación, Formación y el Desarrollo Comunitario (FÜNDEC)

Geloof & Samenleving

Global Peace and Development Organization

Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)

Greek Forum of Migrants

Grenzenlose Wärme - Refugee Relief Work e.V.

Groupe d'information et de soutien des immigré⋅es (GISTI)

Grupa Granica

Hermes Center

HIAS Europe

Homo Digitalis

Hope Cafe Athens

Human Rights Legal Project

Human Rights Watch


Humans in the Loop Foundation

I Have Rights



Institute Circle

Inter Alia

International Rescue Committee

Irídia-Center for the defense of human rights

Italy Must Act

Jesuit Refugee Service Greece (JRS)

JRS Europe

JRS Malta (Jesuit Refugee Service)

Kerk in Actie

KISA Cyprus


LDH (Ligue des droits de l'Homme)

Legal Centre Lesvos


Lesvos Solidarity (LESOL)

Lighthouse Relief

Ligue des droits humains

Maldusa project

Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders

medico international

Migrant Voice

Migration Consortium

Migration Policy group (MPG)


Mobile Info Team

Movimiento por la Paz (MPDL)

Mugak Zabalduz

Mv Louise Michel

Network for Children's Rights (Greece)

No Name Kitchen

No One is Illegal

Northern Lights Aid


Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak


Pan African Alliance on Climate Change

Peace Institute (Mirovni inštitut)

Plataforma Ciudadana Caudete se Mueve


Privacy International


Project Armonia

Project ELPIDA e.V.

Quaker Council for European Affairs

r42 - Sail And Rescue

Reachout Foundation

Red Acoge

Red SOS Refugiados Europa

Red Umbrella Sweden

ReFOCUS Media Labs

Refugee Legal Support (RLS)

Refugees Welcome Italia


Salud por Derecho

Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario

Samos Volunteers

Save the Children

Sea-Eye e.V


Second Tree


Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes - SJM

Sienos Grupė (Lithuania)


SOS Balkanroute

SOS Humanity


Stichting LOS

Still I Rise

Stop Border Violence

The European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe)

United Hands for Refugees e.V.

United4Rescue - Gemeinsam retten e.V.

Velos youth

Walk of Shame

Watch the Med Alarm-phone

We Gaan Ze Halen (Let’s Bring Them Here)

WissenschaftlerInnen für den Frieden Deutscland (Academics for Peace in Germany)

Yoga and Sporta with Refugees

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Further reading

15 March 2024

85 civil society organisations call on MEPs to uphold fundamental rights and reject the harmful Schengen Borders Code recast

Alongside 85 other organisations, Statewatch has signed a joint statement calling on MEPs to reject changes to the Schengen Borders Code. The statement says that the new legislation will increase racial profiling, allow for "internal pushbacks" between Schengen states, invokes the questionable concept of "instrumentalisation of migration" to allow derogations from rights, and will lead to an increase in the use of new surveillance technologies.

06 December 2023

Tracking the Pact: Human rights disaster in the works as Parliament makes "significant concessions" to Council

Negotiations are close to an end on the new laws that make up the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum, and the Council - which has consistently favoured rules that will downgrade human rights protections - appears to have largely got its way, according a document circulated by the Spanish Council Presidency yesterday. Amongst other things, the document openly admits that the Council is planning to sideline Parliament's concerns over "potential discrimination based on race."

04 December 2023

Europe’s (digital) borders must fall: End the expansion of the EU’s EURODAC database

110 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, are calling for an end to the expansion of EURODAC, the EU database for the registration of asylum-seekers. EURODAC, designed to collect and store migrants’ data, is being transformed into an expansive, violent surveillance tool that will treat people seeking protection as crime suspects. This will include children as young as 6 whose fingerprints and facial images will be integrated into the database.


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