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  • 2 min read
  • Published: 3rd August 2023
  • Press Release by Clare Cronin

Unified, Irish cross-party and parliamentary support for migrant rights

Today, Oxfam Ireland delivered a letter signed by all 13 Irish MEPs calling for an end to illegal and inhumane treatment of refugees and migrants at Europe's borders. It made clear our shared abhorrence at tragedies like the recent shipwreck off Greece. 

The letter sent to European Commissioner for Justice, Ylva Johannson calls for “rule of law violations” to be addressed as a matter of urgency.  

These violations have been well documented by Oxfam’s partners, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR). In one of many reports on pushbacks, GCR detail systematic beatings, robbery and rape of people seeking asylum according to their right under international law.   

“For too long, the EU has chosen to look away instead of challenging the illegal actions of certain Member States. Instead, it has been up to NGOs like Oxfam to raise the alarm about the increasing use of pushbacks, coupled with violent and degrading treatment of those who arrive on Europe's shores in search of safety and a better life, said Chris McManus, MEP.  

Speaking of the ship wreak off the coast of Pylos, Barry Andrews MEP said, “It is now becoming clear that the Greek authorities were alerted of the incident in time but ignored communication from the EU's Border and Coast Guard Agency, FRONTEX, who had offered to send an aircraft to assist the search and rescue operation. As a result, at least 80 lives have been lost, 500 are missing, and the death toll continues to rise. We can no longer tolerate a situation where EU Member States violate fundamental rights and the rule of law without consequence.”  

“There are many unanswered questions surrounding the most recent shipwreck off Greece but it is clearly a result of a very flawed approach to migration on behalf of the EU. We urge a full investigation into the most recent deaths, specifically into the role of EU Member States,” said Oxfam Ireland CEO, Jim Clarken. 

Our MEPs are joined by members of the Seanad’s Civil Engagement Group who today also call for EU action on pushbacks and ask the Irish government to champion this at EU level.  Their motion echoes Oxfam's open letter which we have invited the public to sign.  

"It is heartening to see unity across the political spectrum on this issue. We echo the call of Oxfam and all Irish MEPs for an end to illegal pushbacks and a full, independent investigation into the human rights violations at EU borders. It is crucial that Ireland uses its voice in Europe to defend the right of all persons to seek asylum, as is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, said " Senators Lynn Ruane, Frances Black, Eileen Flynn, and Alice-Mary Higgins of the Civil Engagement Group. 

Read the letter signed by all 13 Irish MEPs calling for an end to illegal and inhumane treatment of refugees and migrants at Europe borders HERE


Contact information

Clare Cronin, Oxfam Ireland +353 87 1952551