Stop the European return directive now!

01.Jun.08 - On the 18th of June 2008, a proposal for a directive concerning the detention and deportation of immigrants will be submitted to the European Parliament. Since 1990, the policies of European governments with respect to immigration and asylum have resulted in a continuous reduction of the guarantees and fundamental protections of the people they affect. Europe is becoming a locked-down fortress and uses disproportionate means to prevent access to its territory and to deport unauthorised migrants.

The project before the European Parliament, if it were to be adopted, would represent yet another regression. In foreseeing detention that could be extended up to 18 months for people whose only offence is to want to live in Europe, it holds to an inhuman logic:

generalizing a policy of confinement for aliens could become the normal way of treating migrant populations.

In establishing a five-year ban from Europe for all people who are expelled, this project stigmatises the illegal immigrants and transforms them into delinquents who must be deported.

The proposed directive which will be presented to the Parliament is the first in this domain to be submitted to a procedure of co-decision with the Council of Ministers. The Parliament therefore has the possibility to once and for all put an end to this policy which goes against the human values at the heart of the European project and which give it its meaning.

Today, the Members of the European Parliament have an historical responsibility: act as to not let Europe fall back to the dark era of segregation between nationals and undesirables through the systematisation of detention camps and forced repatriation.

The current draft of the Return Directive, as recently amended and adopted by the representatives of Member States on May 22d , is still more alarming than the amended version of the European Parliament from last September. The hardening of the text which includes:

- Detention of migrants up to 18 months, for the mere fact of having crossed borders and want to live in Europe;
- Detention and deportation of vulnerable people (pregnant women, the elderly people, victims of torture ...) and unaccompanied minors.
- The latest version of the text allows the detention and forced expulsion of unaccompanied minors to a third country (other than their country of origin) where they have neither any family nor legal tutor.
- The removal of migrants to countries where they have only  been in transit without having any personal or family links with such countries.

We call on the Members of the European Parliament to assume their responsibility and reject this project.

Sign the appeal at!

In addition the 14th of June has been designated as the Europe-wide mobilization day against the return directive.