The European Union is largely recognized to be a successful union of 27 member states. All the 27 member states have the right to free movement of goods, services, people, and so on. By EU law and practice this also extends to the movement of refugees. However, law and practice in many cases have nothing in common.
The latest actions of the European Union highlight the doublespeak wherein there is a narrative for public consumption. However, the practical on-ground reality is something vastly different from the on-ground reality. Some latest reports highlight that an eight-month probe by journalists from seven countries uncovered a system run by special units who usually hide their identity by wearing unmarked uniforms and face-covering balaclavas.
The EU significantly finances Croatia’s border operations, including Koridor. Open source evidence reveals that Intervention Police who are part of Koridor stay at hotels along the border when they are on mission. Hotels & per diems are paid out of the EU’s Internal Security Fund pic.twitter.com/scpvdQWxei
— Lighthouse Reports (@LHreports) October 6, 2021
The Der Spiegel news magazine in its investigation obtained and highlighted videos of 11 pushbacks described by Der Spiegel allegedly show men beating refugees before bringing them back across the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, Der Spiegel is not the only magazine that has highlighted this pathetic treatment of the refugees to state the least. Other videos and witness testimonies point to special Greek coastguard units detailed to intercept asylum seekers’ boats in the Aegean Sea and set them adrift aboard orange life rafts, some paid for with EU cash.
Lighthouse reports which wrote the report concerning EU’s doublespeak highlighted that In Romania, we captured for the first time how Romanian police units are pushing people, back people, to Serbia. The videos, published by Libération, were supported by testimony from people who had been summarily expelled who also reported serious assaults during these same incidents captured on film. DW reports that According to human rights organizations, there were more than 16,000 pushbacks at the Croatian-Bosnian border last year alone. Similar incidents have recently been observed at the border between Belarus and Poland. There are also frequent reports of such operations at the Turkish-Greek border and on the high seas.
EU governments deny the existence of a violent campaign by masked men to turn away asylum seekers at EU borders. A months-long investigation by @LHReports & leading media unmasks these groups, reveals who commands & finances them pic.twitter.com/nGNFs5Epsi
— Lighthouse Reports (@LHreports) October 6, 2021
There are two types of refugees in the EU. One section of them uses a border of a country that has a border to Europe. A second category is refugees from a country that has a border with the EU. It is the second category of refugees who are at risk because when they get pushed back they get arrested in a country that is a country that is not a part and thus is not bound by EU law. The refugees may face human rights violations in non-EU countries like torture.
However, there is very little being done by the European Union to take action against authorities who openly violate EU laws and guidelines and treat the refugees in a pathetic and despicable manner. The state by EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has said that “This must be investigated” in the context of the pushbacks by refugees and she has also stated that “There is also convincing evidence of misuse of EU funds”, not all EU member states seems to agree. For example, the Greek foreign minister refused to “apologize” for Greece’s ongoing involvement and stated categorically that “Greek borders are the borders of the EU and we act within the framework of international and European law to protect them”.
These varied actions and statements expose Doublespeak. The hypocrisy of the EU’s woeful lack of recognition of pathetic and crass treatment of refugees. The statement by the EU Home Affairs Commissioner is not tantamount to placing pressure on countries whose border security officials are trying to physically push back migrants. After all, there isn’t a lack of unity by member states on the issue of what to do with errant police officers. The Greek Foreign minister is on record refusing to apologize for the actions of the Greek border guard. It is this doublespeak of the Greek border guard and the overall attitude of the European Union which emphasizes open borders and rights for people to be granted refugee status as soon as they enter EU territory. The double-speak is a woeful lack of recognition of the serious rights violations faced by refugees when police forces use force to push them out of the EU. It is a blatant violation of EU and International law and the EU’s silence in this instance and their general statements on welcoming refugees is hypocrisy and it is this double-speak between the statements and reality as seen in Greece and other EU countries.
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