Sunday 24. October 2021
COMECE Press 12.10.2005

The EU must respect the human rights it espouses in its migration and asylum policy


In light of the flagrant human rights abuses at Ceuta and Melilla, six Churches and Christian organisations have written to the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which meets on 12 October, to demand that the European Union lives up to the rhetoric it espouses on human rights and concretises them within its migration and asylum policy.


In this letter these six organisations working in the field of migration and asylum – Caritas Europa, the Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), the International Catholic Migration Commission, the Jesuit Refugee Service – Europe (JRS), and the Quaker Council for European Affairs – highlight the increasingly desperate situation that men and women face when trying to enter the EU, either as migrants or as asylum seekers. The killing of unarmed people at the EU’s borders is deplorable and a thorough judicial investigation must take place to assess the events at Ceuta and Melilla.


Yet again, these six organisations reiterate the inalienable dignity of all human beings and their corresponding human rights. There is a duty upon the EU to observe these in all their dealings in this area, particularly when considering re-admission agreements with third countries and in fostering partnerships with countries of transit and origin. Human beings who try to enter the EU by irregular means must not be criminalised, especially when considering that some of them may qualify for refugee status as depicted under the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention.


In defining itself as a community of justice, the European Union must develop a human rights based approach to migration and asylum policy if it wishes to provide a long-term solution in this field. The present proposals for the adoption of restrictive policies and increased funding do not provide a durable, humane response.



  • Peter Verhaeghe, Migration Officer, Caritas Europa +32 (0) 2 235 03 96
  • Doris Peschke, General Secretary, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe +32 (0) 2 234 68 00
  • Henrik Lesaar, Legal Adviser, COMECE +32 (0) 2 235 05 13
  • Mariette Grange, Advocacy Officer, International Catholic Migration Commission +41 (0) 22 919 10 20
  • Jan Stuyt, S.J. Regional Director, JRS +32 (0) 2 250 32 20
  • Liz Scurfield, Joint representative, Quaker Council for European Affairs +32 (0) 2 234 30 63
Press contact:

Alessandro Di Maio

Press & Communications Manager E-mail contact Tel.: +32 (0) 2 235 05 15
Contact us
19, Square de Meeûs
B-1050 Bruxelles
T + 32(0)2 235 05 10