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EU consults on migrant smuggling

The European Union has gone out to consultation asking if EU legislation against migrant smuggling is effective enough.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “Smuggling is dangerous and exposes people to unsafe and inhumane travelling conditions. […] To protect people from these criminals, the European Union has undertaken many important initiatives to tackle smuggling, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of facilitators. […] Another important element that emerged strongly from the discussions on countering smuggling is that NGOs – and local and regional authorities – which provide assistance to smuggled migrants shall not be criminalised. I fully agree with this, of course, as I also agree on the need to protect the fundamental rights of those who are being smuggled. Those who we need to punish are the smugglers!”

The consultation is open until April 6.

Among the questions raised are whether the criminal sanctions should be increased for those who facilitate illegal entry, transit and residence in the EU; and what of the risks of criminalising those aiding migrants for humanitarian reasons.

According to the EU, the overall number of detections of illegal EU external border crossings reported in the first three quarters of 2015 was more than 710,000; compared with 282,000 registered in 2014. In 2014, over 3000 migrants are estimated to have lost their lives in the Mediterranean and more than 3400 were found dead or missing in 2015.

To take part and to view various online documents such as the ‘EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015 – 2020)’ visit http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/.


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