Resistance organises against inhumane migration laws. On 10 April 2024, many people followed the call to demonstrate in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.

We resist together against the European migration and asylum policy!

On 10 April, the European Parliament voted for the new pact on migration and asylum. This will have disastrous consequences for the lives of migrants and institutionalise brutal and repressive practices.

A protest led by the Left Group took place in the Parliament building. Debates were interrupted by protesters wearing white T-shirts in the public gallery, shouting at MEPs: “This Pact kills! Vote no”, while throwing paper aeroplanes with details of shipwrecked and dead refugees at the EU’s external borders.

The militant associations confined themselves to the small Luxembourg square.

On 10 April, a protest began at 15.00 in front of the European Parliament while the MEPs were voting. More than 200 associations issued the following declaration

“We will not be silent. We will not join the celebrations of the systematic dismantling of human rights in Europe. We will be there, together with the affected communities, civil society organisations, collectives, and groups defending human rights at the international level, to confront the leaders of the European Union and the politicians who support this shameful agreement that is incompatible with human rights.

We remain convinced that every human being has the right to a dignified life, regardless of their origin, skin colour, gender, sexual or religious orientation, nationality or political opinion, and we stand in solidarity with the people affected by this unjust and cruel policy.

Beyond borders, we stand with those who migrate and seek asylum. We will continue to fight for justice and dignity. Our humanity transcends geographical boundaries. We will continue to resist and fight for a future where justice and solidarity prevail.

Why act?

The new pact on migration and asylum creates a system that threatens the right to asylum in the European Union. Violations of people’s rights in Europe simply because they are migrants will increase. Taken together, these new laws will create a new system of “migration management” in the EU, with the following main elements

De facto detention at borders with no exceptions for families with children of any age, accelerated procedures with lower standards for examining asylum claims rather than a full and fair examination of claims, and deportations with less protection.

Many more asylum seekers will find themselves in border procedures, with the introduction of a legal fiction of ‘non-entry’, they will be considered not to be on EU territory, allowing for lower protection criteria and increasing the risk of human rights violations and rejections at borders. Even unaccompanied minors can be detained in these border procedures if they are considered a ‘threat to national security or public order’. Moreover, experience shows that detaining large numbers of people for long periods in border areas leads to overcrowding and inhumane conditions, as in the case of the Greek islands.

By extending the concept of a ‘safe third country’, asylum-seekers will have their claims declared ‘inadmissible’ and will increasingly be deported to countries outside the EU based on a close connection with those countries, increasing the risk of deportation. The recent EU-Turkey deal is an example of this practice of outsourcing asylum claims to third countries.

One of the most controversial measures is that states will be allowed to pay €20,000 (£17,000) per person into a fund for people they do not accept under the solidarity measure.

Despite today’s approval in Parliament, civil society has a two-year window of opportunity over the next two years to stop most of this pact being implemented in our countries.

We will remain vigilant! This is a fantastic opportunity to build a European resistance against the dehumanisation of Europe and to start dreaming of a real humanisation of Europe.

Laura Vacas López

Custodia Villalobos Pallicer

Photos: Tatiana DB & Laura V.

Some of the associations mobilised: Seebrücke, Sea-Watch, European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Abolish Frontex, Agir pour la Paix, EuroMed Rights, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Stop GEAS, Interventionistische Linke (IL), Project Elpida, CNCD-11.11. 11… Flemish Refugee Action (Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen), Emergencia Frontera Sur Motril, From Sea to City, Solidary Wheels, Coordinadora Obrim Fronteres, PRO ASYL, Irídia – Centre per la Defensa dels Drets Humans, València és Refugi, País Valencià pels Drets Humans, NO ONE IS ILLEGAL, Red SOS Refugiados Europe, Be Aware And Share (BAAS), Network for Children’s Rights (Greece), Migration-control. Info, MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans, Plataforma de personas refugiadas de Cáceres, Asociación Sonrisas en Acción, I Have Rights, PAR Almansa, CIRE, Plateforme citoyenne – Belfugees – Burgerplatform, La Voix des Sans Papiers Bruxelles, Pax Christi, MOC, MRAX, Migreurop, Bruxelles Laïque.