|Consultation:||FYEG General Assembly 2017|
|Agenda item:||3. Resolutions|
|Proposer:||Paz Serra Portilla (Migration WG)|
Stop fighting the smugglers, create safe passage instead!
The fight against refugee and migrant smuggling has evolved into a central
paradigm of EU asylum and migration policies in the past several years and has
played a pivotal role in the public discourse ever since the adoption of the EU
Agenda on Migration and the Action Plan on Migrant Smuggling in 2015.
We consider the policy prerogative of fighting smugglers misconceived in several
First and foremost, the fight against smugglers neglects that as long as in the
current European border regime safe and legal ways to Europe remain scant,
refugees are dependent upon the smugglers to reach European shores. While some
smugglers will without doubt attempt at exploiting refugees on their way to
Europe, we understand smuggling as a more complex phenomenon. What makes the
right of asylum meaningful and tangible for the refugees in practice, is in
today's system the smuggler. Consequently, what smugglers provide is not much
different than a service, which is illicit in the current regime but for which
there is a clear need. The only way to lower the risk for the refugees involved
is to provide for alternative, legal ways to Europe.
Media and some EU insitutions and organs keep depicting smugglers as greedy
criminals and refugees and migrants as their passive, uninformed victims.
Meanwhile, recent critical scholarship suggest the relationships between
smugglers and refugees can be and are more complex, with social, family or
ethnic ties playing an important role. Refugees are not always completely
unaware of the risks involved in their journeys but - in the absence of other
options for reaching Europe - willingly choose to take the risk. Likewise, it is
not true that smugglers always attempt to exploit or otherwise harm refugees,
who are as in any other business their clients. While it is important to protect
refugees from being exploited en route, in places like Hungary, refugees are
more likely to experience violence from border authorities than from the
smugglers. It is hypocritical to fight smugglers and leave state-sponsored
violence untackled, covered with the veil of impunity.
NGOs providing vital assistance at High Seas as well as individual activists
facilitating refugees' transfer for humanitarian, non-profit purposes keep being
attacked for having connections or even cooperating with criminal smuggling
networks. From France to Sweden to Greece, individuals who have helped refugees
cross the border for humanitarian purposes are being put on trial. We understand
assistance in border crossing - which does not involve financial or material
benefit for the smuggler - as an instance of "humanitarian smuggling", an act of
civil disobedience and an example of practical solidarity in the face of
Considering the above, we demand the EU:
- To stop pouring money into militarized fight against migrant smuggling
which has proven not efficient and which is dangerous to the migrants
themselves. In particular, we require militarized operations aiming at
seizing and destroying smugglers' vessels, such as the EU NAVFOR MED
operation Sophia, to be ceased. The financial means gained herewith are to
be channeled towards increased search and rescue operations.
- To create legal, safe ways to Europe by easing access to humanitarian,
student and work visas, by widening the criteria for family reunification
and by making increased efforts at resettling refugees. Legal ways to
Europe will make refugees less dependent on the illicit means of transport
which expose them to risks inherent in such journey.
- To launch proper investigation into reported cases of border violence and
border deaths from the hands of state authorities as well as the Frontex.
- To stop accusing humanitarian actors of having ties and cooperating with
criminal smuggling networks. They provide crucial help which the EU has
failed to provide and should be respected as such.
- To amend the EU Facilitation Directive in order to create a clear
distinction between smuggling and humanitarian smuggling. EU member states
shall be prohibited from criminalizing the facilitation of irregular
border transfer which does not involve an element of financial or material
- To stop making fight against migrant smuggling a precondition for
development cooperation, to repeal the EU-Turkey deal and to stop any
agreements aiming at curbing migration flows with countries in Northern
- Last but not least, we call on the civil society to stand in solidarity
with the refugees, to support them in their struggles and to continue
engaging in acts of legitimate civil disobedience vis a vis the Fortress
Europe. Solidarity is not a crime!
The Idea of the Europe Fortress has paved the way for human traficking and smugling in our borders. We think that aproaching migration as a human right calls for open borders, that can be crossed safely and freely, ending once and for all the suffering of thousands of people.
- Zuzana Pavelková
- Cécile Germain (Migration WG)
- Lara Siever (Migration WG)
- C8-050 (Grüne Jugend (decided on: 05/22/2017), Submitted)
- C8-064 (Grüne Jugend (decided on: 05/22/2017), Submitted)
- C8-064-2 (Grüne Jugend (decided on: 05/22/2017), Submitted)
- C8-040 (Les Jeunes Écologistes (France (decided on: 05/24/2017), Submitted)
- C8-007 (Les Jeunes Écologistes (France (decided on: 05/24/2017), Submitted)
- C8-001 (Les Jeunes Écologistes (France (decided on: 05/25/2017), Submitted)
- C8-050-2 (DWARS Groenlinkse Jongeren (decided on: 05/25/2017), Submitted)
- C8-001-2 (Igor Skórzybót (Ostra Zieleń), Submitted)
- C8-009 (Jong Groen (decided on: 05/25/2017), Submitted)