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European Citizens’ Initiative
under Regulation (EU) 2019/788
Art. 4: Stop violence at Europe’s borders
Within the scope of the concurrent jurisdictions of the EU – defined within the “Area of Freedom, Security and Justice” sector where art. 78 of the TFEU refers to the areas of competence concerning policies relating to border controls, asylum and immigration – our goal is the adoption of adequate legislative instruments to ensure the actual application of Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the ban of the use of violence, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment in the control of the EU’s borders and within third countries with which the European institutions or one or more Member States have concluded agreements aimed at restricting the entry into Europe of migrants and asylum seekers, as well as within the Member States themselves in the management of reception, providing for sanctions in the event of noncompliance with the established obligations.
SUBJECT MATTER, OBJECTIVES AND CONTEXT
Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states: ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. In recent years, there has been an escalation of violence against migrants that is intolerable to European consciences, in open contrast to the fundamental principles of the EU. Reports from organisations such as UNHCR, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, journalistic investigations, and numerous testimonies from the victims themselves tell of torture, rape and threats in the detention centres of Libya, a country with which Italy has made agreements to control departures; extremely degrading conditions in camps in Greece and Bosnia, where overcrowding, lack of medical care and assistance put the lives of the most vulnerable at risk; the disproportionate use of force and repeated incidents of actual torture by the Croatian police against asylum seekers at the borders with Serbia and Bosnia; situations of illegal detention of migrants in several EU or EU-funded countries, violent rejections along all borders of Europe, and de facto suspension of the right to seek asylum.
The ECI calls for EU action – within the scope of its own concurrent jurisdictions defined within the “Area of Freedom, Security and Justice” sector, where art. 78 of the TFEU refers to competences on policies related to border controls, asylum and immigration – to put an end to these continuous and repeated violations of a fundamental principle of the European Union, expressed in Article 4 of the CFREU, so that migrants and/or asylum seekers are protected: 1- when entering the common European area through the regulation of border control activities and provision of specific sanctions for countries that openly violate the ban on the use of violence; 2- within third countries, outside the EU, in the context of operations aimed at the so-called “borders externalization” through the provision of specific sanctions for member countries that conclude agreements that do not provide for the control of compliance with art. 4); 3- in the definition of reception standards within the area of European countries for the entire period of stay in the territory through the provision of specific sanctions for countries that are involved, through the use of their own bodies and/or police forces, in violations of the rights of migrants or asylum seekers.