February, 3 2015 – The Commissioner showed himself very critical towards Europe. According to him, Europe did not act up to the Syrian crisis. Governments were too indifferent and neglecting in 2013. Insufficient efforts were made in 2014. While Europe has concentrated its work on the fight against smugglers and cross-border crime, Syria’s neighbour countries have welcomed most migrants without being able to meet their needs. Since 2011, Europe, one of the world’s most rich regions, has only received 6% of all Syrian refugees and backflows at the borders have not ceased. Here are the Commissioner’s recommendations to Europe:
March, 12 2015 – TheUNHCR announced that, in a letter addressed to the EU, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has presented policy proposals as part of UNHCR’s Central Mediterranean Sea Initiative (CMSI).
March,10 2015 –The European Commission and the Member States would be discussing the « best practices to follow»in order to obtain asylum seekers and illegal immigrants’ fingerprints by force. Their fingerprints have to integrate EURODAC data base so that the Dublin III Regulation can be applied. The Commission would be considering putting forward the « use of a proportionate degree of coercion » against naysayers, including vulnerable people and minors.
30 March 2015 – European Parliament plenary session: the EP voted a non-legislative resolution on the necessity for the EU to act more towards gender equality. The text confirms the willingness of MEPs to fill the gap on wages between men and women, to break the “glass ceilings” in women’s careers, to integrate gender equality and women’s rights in the political decision-making and the budget, and to guarantee their rights regarding sexual and reproductive health. This last question created strife last year between MEPs, especially regarding abortion.
27 March 2015 – A report from the European Parliament detailed the negative impacts caused by austerity measures on the European citizens. These impacts are multiple and undermine Europeans’ social rights. Among the most infringed ones, the right to education is seriously violated. In some countries, numerous classes have been removed in schools that sometimes cannot even provide basic living conditions to their pupils (lack of air conditioning, of basic school supplies). The right to health also suffers serious infringements: the decreasing number of practitioners as well as the number of health operations covered by social security led citizens to no longer being able to count on essential health care.
31 March 2015 – In a joint press release, the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH), the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights (EMHRN), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and their member organisations strongly condemn the law, aptly dubbed the “gag law”, and reiterate their serious concerns over the growing restrictions on the right to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly in Spain.
18 March 2015 – The European Disability Forum – an NGO representing the interest of Europeans with disabilities since 1996 – has submitted its alternative report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (UN CRPD) by the European Union to the UN Committee.
The Alter Summit, AEDH is a member of, has declared its support to the Greek government’s decision to break with the austerity measures taken by former governments and to reject austerity and the Troika. It underlines especially that the current conflict does not oppose Europe to Greece but opposes the social rights of the citizens to the interests of big companies and banks to recover their debt.
The final draft of a ‘roadmap’ on how to improve and strengthen citizen involvement in EU decision-making has been agreed at an NGO Forum in Riga (Latvia) – in which AEDH took part – at the beginning of this month.
On the 18th of March 2015, the European Disability Forum – an NGO representing the interest of Europeans with disabilities since 1996 – has submitted its alternative report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (UN CRPD) by the European Union to the UN Committee.