COMECE advocates for humane treatment in irregular migrants’ return process
In the context of the reform of the EU Return Directive, COMECE calls for human-centered policies including the fundamental rights protection of irregular migrants at all stages of their return, the implementation of alternatives to detention, the full respect of the principle of non-refoulment and the prioritisation of voluntary return.
According to recent statistics, more than 1/3 of the return decisions were effectively implemented in 2017. The proposed recast of the EU Return Directive aims at “speeding up return procedures, preventing absconding and secondary movements, increasing the rate of returns and breaking the business model of human traffickers”.
Considering the importance of respecting the Rule of Law, COMECE advocates for the fulfillment of the fundamental principle of returning irregular migrants in safety and dignity avoiding collective expulsions and ‘push backs’.
Therefore, COMECE expresses the need to pay special attention to the needs of the most vulnerable people (victims of human trafficking, seriously-ill or disable people, children, pregnant women and elderly) and to the safeguarding of the family unity in the return process.
As Pope Francis stated in his 2018 message on the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, “solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return”.
The next World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be commemorated on 29 September 2019, under the title of “It is not just about migrants”, highlighting that Pope’s frequent appeals for migrants, refugees, displaced and trafficked people should be understood as integral to his deep concern for all the inhabitants of today’s existential peripheries.