The EU deigns to warn the Tories: don’t try and bypass the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) when it comes to deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. Senior EU officials, including European commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson and European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič, are among those to voice concern about the UK’s attitude toward the ECHR. But the sheer brass neck of the EU on this is hard to take.
The EU is said to be worried that the UK intends to ignore injunctions from the ECHR. But the EU itself continues to drag its feet over its own accession to the European Convention on Human Rights which established the ECHR – in spite of concern about systemic human rights abuses happening under its own immigration plan.
Migrants in Libya are allegedly subject to torture
Small boats are being pushed backed to Libya under the EU’s watch. Libya, it is fair to say, is a very different state to Rwanda: it is a failed state. A recent mission by the UN Human Rights Council found reasonable grounds to conclude crimes against humanity are happening against Libyans there and against the migrants the EU sends there and pays Libya to detain.
Migrants in Libya are allegedly subject to arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, enslavement, sexual slavery, and forced labour, sexual violence, and murder.
Professor Dimitry Kochenov at the Central European University and Sarah Ganty of the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University (and other notable institutions) have co-authored a damning piece of academic research on this alleged human rights abuse. They state that some 25,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean in recent years and that over 100,000 migrants have been held, with many sent back to Libya. This looks to be a grotesque breach of human rights law. But accountability is difficult when the EU is not a member of (and not subject to) the ECHR.
The academics call this process ‘lawlessness law’ and set out how it operates, how the EU pays for it and how it technically passes legal scrutiny. They say this is an affront to the rule of law. So whatever you think of the government’s Rwanda plan, it’s a bit rich for the EU to point the finger. How can Brussels lecture the UK about deporting asylum seekers to a safer bit of Africa?
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