The Belgian government is in good company when it comes to undermining human rights, as the latest report by Amnesty International has shown.
Everywhere in Europe, we can see fear-mongering politicians, growing racism and the subversion of basic human rights in the name of anti-terror laws and migration control. The question is, how far is it until 1933 and the Brave New World?
Let’s take a look at what has happened in Belgium and elsewhere.
Last year, Theo Francken, Belgian Minister for Migration, made his abominable proposal to “clean up” Parc Maximilien(Brussels) from refugees. The government had previously failed to accommodate newcomers, although Belgian counts among the EU countries with the lowest number of asylum seekers.
Besides its display of police force and incendiary vocabulary, reminding us of the darkest hours in human history, the Belgian government has launched an initiative aimed at dividing Belgian citizens by proposing to allow police raids in citizens’ homes who have chosen to voluntarily host refugees. And finally, this same right-wing government has accepted to send back Sudanese refugees without investigating the danger of torture, a case for UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
In France, Emmanuel Macron wants to introduce a new anti-terror law that bypasses the legal system and replace it with a long emergency state that had, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, reduced democratic rights, such as the right of assembly. Furthermore, France has sent around 28,000 refugees back to Italy, denying them the right to ask for asylum in France.
At European level, a dirty deal with Erdogan has been negotiated. The deal foresees that the EU lowers its tone on human rights abuses by the Turkish government, sends Turkey €6 billion in aid, grants visa-free travel to Europe and renews membership talks with the EU. In counterpart, Turkey makes sure to keep refugees from fleeing to EU countries. The situation for refugees stuck in Turkey is far from easy. For example, 40% of the over one million Syrian children in the country have not yet been enrolled in formal education. The EU-Turkey deal was only the start of the externalisation of EU borders by new dirty deals with countries like Libya, Sudan, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia.
Municipalities are often left alone with hosting the newcomers; national states are blaming the EU for failing to handle the crisis, although migration policy had always been a national competence, and the European Commission is trying its best to replicate member states’ ‘security before human rights’ approach through its deals.
Through our members, we are assembling an ethical, efficient, and workable alternative to the badly failing migration and refugee policies of the governments of the EU member states. If you want to help shape Europe’s new policy on this key issue, or campaign against the political degeneration of our continent, join us.
Don’t miss our next event in Brussels, taking place on March 21 at 20:00, entitled ‘DiEM25 asks: why don’t we treat refugees and migrants as people?