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Procedure : 2020/2116(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0060/2021

Texts tabled :

A9-0060/2021

Debates :

PV 18/05/2021 - 8
CRE 18/05/2021 - 8

Votes :

PV 19/05/2021 - 2
PV 19/05/2021 - 12

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0242

Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 19 May 2021 - Brussels
Human rights protection and the EU external migration policy
P9_TA(2021)0242A9-0060/2021

European Parliament resolution of 19 May 2021 on human rights protection and the EU external migration policy (2020/2116(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, and in particular Articles 13 and 14 thereof,

–  having regard to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and the additional protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 and their additional protocols,

–  having regard to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1966,

–  having regard to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984, in particular Article 3 thereof, and to the additional protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the additional protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families of 1990,

–   having regard to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,

–  having regard to the UN Palermo Protocols on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations Secretary-General of 3 August 2015 on the promotion and protection of human rights, including ways and means to promote the human rights of migrants,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 71/1 of 19 September 2016 on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 72/179 of 19 December 2017 on the protection of migrants,

–  having regard to the work of various international human rights mechanisms, including the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, notably his follow-up to the regional study on the management of the external borders of the European Union and its impact on the human rights of migrants of 8 May 2015, and the report on the right to freedom of association of migrants of May 2020, and of other Special Rapporteurs, to the Universal Periodic Review and to the work of other treaty bodies,

–  having regard to the work and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), including the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders and the Report on the Situation of Migrants in Transit,

–  having regard to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018,

–  having regard to the Joint Guidance Note on the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Human Rights of Migrants of 26 May 2020 by the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants,

–  having regard to the Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity,

–  having regard to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–   having regard to Articles 79 and 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the ‘Charter’),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(1),

–  having regard to the relevant reports of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the Commission on 23 September 2020,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, and the annexed EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, as agreed by the Council on 17 November 2020,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 25 March 2020 entitled ‘EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy for 2020-2024’ (JOIN(2020)0005),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 November 2011 on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) (COM(2011)0743),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 June 2016 on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2016)0385),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 30 April 2014 on a rights-based approach, encompassing all human rights for EU development cooperation (SWD(2014)0152),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 September 2020 on a New Pact on Migration and Asylum (COM(2020)0609),

–  having regard to the Malta Declaration by the members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration: addressing the Central Mediterranean route, of 3 February 2017,

–  having regard to the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 25 November 2020 on the Gender Action Plan III: an ambitious vision on gender equality and women’s empowerment for EU external action (SWD(2020)0284),

–  having regard to the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 9 March 2020 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ (JOIN(2020)0004),

–  having regard to the Joint Way Forward agreement on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU, signed on 3 October 2016,

–  having regard to the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016,

–  having regard to other informal arrangements, in particular those with The Gambia (Good Practices on Identification and Return, which entered into force on 16 November 2018), Bangladesh (Standard Operating Procedures, agreed in September 2017), Ethiopia (Admission Procedures, agreed on 5 February 2018), Guinea (Good Practices, in force since July 2017) and Côte d’Ivoire (Good Practices, in force since October 2018),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on migration-related issues, in particular those of 25 October 2016 on human rights and migration in third countries(2), of 17 December 2014 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration(3), of 29 April 2015 on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean and EU migration and asylum policies(4), and of 12 April 2016 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need of a holistic EU approach to migration(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2016 on the fight against trafficking in human beings in the EU’s external relations(6),

–  having regard to various reports by civil society organisations on the human rights situation of migrants,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 September 2020 entitled ‘Commission Guidance on the implementation of EU rules on definition and prevention of the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence’ (C(2020)6470),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2020 on improving development effectiveness and the efficiency of aid(7),

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0060/2021),

A.  whereas migration is a global phenomenon amplified by globalisation, rising conflicts, inequalities, climate change and environmental degradation; whereas gradual, normative development within the modern international human rights framework of the rights of refugees and migrants, independently of their legal status, represents a source of progress and collective pride for humanity; whereas, however, migrants, and in particular forcibly displaced persons, remain among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups worldwide and continue to face violations of their rights; whereas women, children, elderly and people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable migrants; whereas for many individuals migration continues to be a human journey marred by suffering, discrimination and violence; whereas thousands of migrants have lost their lives on their migration route;

B.  whereas for the European Union and its Member States migration has been and will continue to be a challenge and opportunity; whereas Member States whose geographical location places them on the front line are bearing a disproportionate share of responsibility; whereas responsibility must go hand in hand with solidarity; whereas the European Union, as a historic region of both emigration and immigration and as a community united by founding values of human dignity, freedom and human rights, and as one of the worlds’ largest donors promoting sustainable development, supporting displaced persons, addressing the drivers of migration and working through multilateral forums towards finding durable solutions, has a particular duty to respect, protect and promote the rights of migrants, notably in its external dealings; whereas the human dignity of all migrants must be at the heart of all EU policies on this matter;

C.  whereas a comprehensive approach to migration and the asylum system entails addressing the external dimension of the EU migration policy; whereas the impact of this external dimension largely depends on joined-up action at EU level and active coordination of activities with external partners;

D.  whereas the European consensus on development adopted in June 2017 highlights that well-managed migration and mobility can contribute positively to inclusive growth and sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda;

E.  whereas human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian and/or refugee law, such as non-refoulement, pushbacks and violent attacks against migrants, arbitrary and indefinite detention under inhumane conditions, exploitation, torture and other ill-treatment including rape, disappearance and death, are increasingly being reported globally, including at EU external borders; whereas Member States have an obligation to respect Union, human rights and international law, humanitarian and refugee law; whereas the Commission has to ensure that Member States fulfil their humanitarian and human rights obligations, and has to launch infringement procedures in case the latter are not met; whereas the Commission has yet to act on proven or alleged cases of pushbacks;

F.  whereas rescue at sea is a legal obligation under international law, in particular according to Article 98 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which requires that assistance is rendered to any person in distress at sea; whereas the enhancement of border management capacities and fighting smuggling and trafficking should not to be used to criminalise migrants, nor those assisting them; whereas the Commission has invited the Member States that have not already done so to use Article 1(2) of Directive 2002/90/EC(8) (Facilitation Directive);

G.  whereas the Commission’s communication on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) of 2011 refers to a migrant-centred approach, in which human rights are said to occupy a central place, with the aim of strengthening ‘respect for fundamental rights and the human rights of migrants in source, transit and destination countries alike’;

H.  whereas the Commission communication of 7 June 2016 on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration, which builds on the GAMM principles, stresses that migration issues are at the top of the EU’s external relations priorities; whereas this framework calls for intensified cooperation with third countries, in particular those from European neighbourhood, through ‘partnerships’ aiming to ensure cooperation on migration management, to effectively prevent irregular migration and readmit irregular migrants, including with positive and negative incentives stemming from different policy elements within EU competence, including neighbourhood, development assistance, trade, mobility, energy, security and digital policies, all leveraged towards the same objective; whereas all such ‘partnerships’ need to have a clear legal basis;

I.  whereas in its 2016 communication the Commission outlined three main objectives for cooperation with third countries: saving lives in the Mediterranean sea, increasing the rate of returns to countries of origin and transit, and enabling migrants and refugees to stay close to home and to avoid taking dangerous journeys; whereas the 2016 Communication mentions addressing irregular migration as a priority for the Union and introduces ‘the less for less approach’, whereby the Commission expresses its readiness to use all EU tools and instruments, with the exception of humanitarian aid, as incentives to achieve cooperation from third countries on readmission and border control;

J.  whereas the fight against migrant smuggling is a common challenge that requires cooperation and coordination with third countries; whereas the new EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling aims to promote cooperation between the EU and third countries through targeted partnerships to counter migrant smuggling as part of broader partnerships with key third countries; whereas Europol plays a key role in the fight against migrant smuggling;

K.  whereas cooperation with third countries is essential to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings; whereas migration routes may be exploited by human trafficking networks; whereas trafficking in human beings has a disproportionate impact on women and girls, who constitute the overwhelming majority of victims of trafficking and suffer violence and exploitation along their migration route; whereas measures taken against human trafficking should not adversely affect the rights of victims of trafficking, migrants, refugees and persons in need of international protection;

L.  whereas since 2016 the EU and some individual Member States have multiplied the number of informal agreements and arrangements with third countries, aiming to strengthen their operational capacities in border control and management, and the fight against human trafficking; whereas these agreement and arrangements also cover effective return and readmission with third countries, including Joint Migration Declarations, Memoranda of Understanding, Joint Ways Forward, Standard Operating Procedures and Good Practices as well as police cooperation agreements; whereas, similarly to formal readmission agreements, such informal arrangements affirm states’ commitments to readmitting their nationals (or others) and establish procedures to carry out returns in practice; whereas since 2016, the EU has concluded at least 11 informal agreements but only one new readmission agreement; whereas informal agreements between the EU and third countries do not provide a predictable policy or any stable and coherent statutory framework provisions on irregular migration;

M.  whereas in its communication on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Commission reiterated that the internal and external dimensions of migration are inextricably linked, and that tailor-made comprehensive and balanced migration dialogues and partnerships with countries of origin and transit is essential in order to address valuable objectives for both sides, such as the main drivers of migration, combating migrant smuggling, support for refugees residing in third countries and supporting well-managed legal migration; whereas as stated by the Commission communication on the New Pact, engagement at regional and global level is fundamental to complementing such dialogues and partnerships; whereas it emphasised, furthermore, that in the framework of comprehensive partnerships with third countries migration should be built in as a core issue and linked to other policies, such as those relating to development cooperation, security, visas, trade, agriculture, investment and employment, energy, environment and climate change, and education;

N.  whereas the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 commits the EU and its Member States to ‘advocate for the specific protection to which migrants, refugees, and internally displaced and stateless persons are entitled’; whereas this Action Plan promotes ‘non-discriminatory access to social services, including quality and affordable healthcare and education (also online), and build[ing] practitioners’ capacity to respond to the specific needs of (...) migrants [and] refugees’, and ‘support[ing] a human rights-based approach to migration governance and strengthen[ing] the capacity of states, civil society and UN partners to implement this approach’;

O.  whereas, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), women account for around 48 % of the refugee population in the world, and for a high proportion of vulnerable asylum seekers; whereas the EU’s Gender Action Plan III commits the EU to ensuring that ‘the human rights of migrant women and girls are fully realised through gender-responsive migration policies, programmes and laws, and gender-responsive migration governance at global, regional and national levels are reinforced’; whereas gender-responsive migration policies would ensure the realisation of the rights of women, girls and LGTBIQ+ persons, and protection against potential violence, harassment, rape and trafficking;

P.  whereas the 2015 report of the former UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants notes shortcomings in the EU’s approach to migration due to its lack of transparency and clarity, and to the weak status of many of the agreements reached in this framework, which in his view generally lack monitoring and accountability measures; whereas the Special Rapporteur also concludes that there are few signs that mobility partnerships have resulted in additional human rights or development benefits, while the overall focus on security and the lack of policy coherence within the approach as a whole create a risk that any benefits arising from human rights and development projects could be overshadowed by the secondary effects of more security-focused policies;

Q.  whereas UN human rights experts and civil society organisations have warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is having serious and disproportionate effects on migrants and their families globally; whereas they have called on states to protect the rights of migrants and their families, regardless of their migration status; whereas the pandemic has extended the period of examination of asylum applications;

R.  whereas upholding freedom of movement and the right to work is key to allowing migrants to become self-reliant and helps further their integration; whereas intra-regional migration is an important element of these cross-border economic patterns;

I.The migration policy framework and its external dimension

1.  Highlights that, alongside their Treaty-based obligation to uphold the values of respect for human dignity, the rule of law and respect for human rights and international law in all its external dealings, the EU and its Member States have human rights obligations towards third-country nationals (TCNs) when cooperating on migration with third countries and other non-EU actors;

2.  Stresses that these obligations require not only the recognition of the applicability of the relevant standards, but also appropriate operationalisation through detailed and specific instruments that allow for effective protection and safeguards in practice as well as through a human rights-based approach to the entire migration policy cycle, with a particular focus on migrant women and unaccompanied children;

3.  Is concerned about the increasing number of - and lack of protection for - unaccompanied minors travelling through irregular migration pathways; highlights in particular the lack of effective monitoring and reporting by EU agencies and Member States on the protection of unaccompanied minors; calls on the EU to ensure that Member States and third countries report on the mechanisms applied to protect the rights of children in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;

4.  Recalls that, in compliance with Articles 3(5) and 21 TEU and the Charter, the EU and, when applying EU law, the Member States must uphold human rights in their external and extraterritorial actions, agreements and cooperation in the areas of migration, borders and asylum, , including the right to life, liberty, the right to asylum, including the individual assessment of asylum applications with appropriate guarantees in accordance with international law, the right to human dignity and security, the protection from enforced disappearance, the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, slavery and forced labour, the right to the protection of personal data, protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition, freedom of religion, belief, thought and conscience, and the obligation to take the interests of the child as a primary consideration as well as to adopt a gender-sensitive approach; recalls, further, that they must ensure non-discrimination and procedural guarantees such as the right to an effective remedy as well as the right to family reunification, and prevent separating children from their parents or legal guardians;

5.  Observes that the Commission has yet to evaluate the impact of the implementation of its successive migration policy frameworks, in particular the GAMM and the new Partnership Framework, on the human rights of TCNs as well as the human rights impact of EU cooperation on migration with third countries, including the impact of EU support for partner countries’ border and security forces; insists on the need to carry out such a review systematically and in a comprehensive, inclusive and public format with a view to ensuring the full human rights compliance of the EU’s external migration policy;

6.  Notes with great concern the absence of operational, reporting, monitoring, evaluation and accountability mechanisms for individual cases which track and respond to potential violations, as well as the lack of effective judicial remedies for persons whose rights are allegedly violated as a consequence of informal EU agreements and financial cooperation;

7.  Reiterates that for the Union's policy on migration to function properly, the EU must increase its external cooperation with countries of origin and work to ensure the sustainable and effective readmission of returnees; calls for the EU to ensure that readmission agreements and agreements for cooperation on border management are only concluded with third countries that explicitly commit to respecting human rights, including the principle of non-refoulement and the rights enshrined in the UN Refugee Convention; calls for the EU to ensure that this cooperation does not lead to violations of those rights, and offers operational means to ensure effective accountability if violations occur;

8.  Notes that most of the 18 official EU readmission agreements (EURAs) concluded to date include the readmission of third-country nationals to a transit country; underscores the fact that returns to transit countries entail the risk of potentially violating the human rights of returnees; supports the recommendation made in the Commission’s evaluation of EURAs in 2011 that the EU should always first try to readmit a person to their country of origin as a matter of principle, to the extent that circumstances allow it;

9.  Calls on the Commission to ensure transparent risk assessments performed by independent EU-bodies and experts, such as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, on the impact of any formal, informal or financial EU cooperation with third countries on the rights of migrants and refugees, including women, on local human rights defenders and civil society working to defend these rights, and, to the extent possible, on the impact that such cooperation would have on the wider population in the country affected by it in terms of access to rights, contribution to human security and peace, and sustainable development; calls on the Commission to set implementation guidelines for EU agencies and Member States before entering into cooperation with third countries; calls in this respect for particular vigilance in relation to countries which are experiencing ongoing or frozen conflicts and face increased risks of human rights violations; calls on the Commission to ensure that any EU cooperation with third countries is fully formalised in order to ensure agreements with third countries can be effectively monitored;

10.  Calls on the Commission to establish an independent, transparent and effective monitoring mechanism on the basis of international law, the Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes periodic reports on the implementation of formal, informal and financial agreements with third countries that can potentially impact the rights of migrants and refugees and the work of human rights defenders and civil society defending these rights in third countries, such as migration partnerships, readmission agreements, and international cooperation on migration management and governance, including direct targeting of challenges connected to migration and forced displacement; stresses that such a monitoring mechanism has to be participatory and public; insists on the need to ensure the means for civil society and other interested stakeholders to be able to contribute to the work of the mechanism; stresses that such a system should contribute to ensuring accountability for human rights violations, including pushbacks violating the principle of non-refoulement; calls on the Commission to establish a follow-up mechanism which duly incorporates evaluation results and expert recommendations in the relevant agreement, arrangement or action; stresses the need for ensuring parliamentary scrutiny and democratic oversight;

11.  Calls on the EU to consider ways to ensure access to justice for persons affected by measures implementing cooperation between it and third countries on migration, including through setting up an independent and accessible complaints mechanism; asks for measures to ensure that those who might suffer human rights violations can access effective legal remedies and therefore can obtain redress or reparation;

12.  Notes that the implementation and funding of the EU’s external migration policy is assigned to different Commission Directorates-General and mainstreamed in the EU’s migration and asylum, as well as development and foreign policies; notes with concern that this blending of executive responsibilities has created a lack of sufficient and coherent oversight of the Commission’s activities that would enable Parliament to exert democratic scrutiny over the EU’s external migration policy; insists on the importance of ensuring coherence, synergies and complementarities in order to avoid overlaps between the different tools;

13.  Highlights the practical human rights implications stemming from the increasing number, and hence the extrajudicial nature, of informal arrangements on return and readmission, which are concluded ,without due democratic scrutiny and parliamentary oversight, and are not subject to judicial scrutiny; notes that the rights of asylum seekers are inherently dependent on the possibility of having human rights violations assessed by a court; urges the Commission to formulate a plan and take all necessary measures to initiate or finalise negotiations, and accordingly sign readmission agreements, to prioritise the conclusion of formal readmission agreements, thus ensuring full respect for Article 218(6) TFEU, and to ensure that formal EURAs exclude informal agreements; believes that Parliament must scrutinise informal agreements which include commitments on issues that fall within its competences, such as readmission, and that the Commission must be ready to undertake further action, including suspension, if these informal agreements appear to be incompatible with the Treaties; calls on the Commission to establish a general framework for the effective monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of all present and future EU readmission agreements and the inclusion therein of special monitoring provisions;

II. Human rights compliance and EU actors implementing the external migration policy

14.  Notes the increased role of Frontex in practical and operational cooperation with third countries, including on return and readmission, the fight against human trafficking, the provision of training, operational and technical assistance to authorities of third countries for the purpose of border management and border control, carrying out operations or joint operations at the EU’s external borders or in the territories of third countries, and deploying liaison officers and operational staff in third countries; calls for an assessment of the needs of the Agency on a regular basis to ensure its optimal functioning; calls on the Commission to establish an independent, transparent and effective monitoring mechanism on all activities carried out by Frontex, which would be in addition to the internal complaint mechanism in place;

15.  Stresses the importance of status agreements for the security of the EU’s external borders as well as for ensuring a legal framework for cooperation between Frontex and third country border management authorities; recalls that ad hoc status agreements, subject to approval by Parliament, are required for the deployment of Frontex’s border management teams to a third country where the members of the teams will exercise executive powers; regrets that the two status agreements concluded to date do not include specific measures for the operationalisation of human rights as part of border management, and do not ensure that material support and training to third countries is not given to perpetrators of human rights violations; regrets that these agreements also fail to clearly regulate accountability for potential human rights violations, and calls for any future status agreements to include such measures;

16.  Stresses that Regulation (EU) 2019/1896(9) requires Frontex to ensure timely, consistent, transparent, complete and accurate reporting to Parliament on its activities relating to cooperation with third countries and, in particular, those related to technical and operational assistance in the field of border management and return in third countries, the deployment of liaison officers, and detailed information on compliance with fundamental rights; calls on Frontex to regularly inform Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs about any activities involving cooperation with third country authorities, and in particular the operationalisation of human rights as part of such activities;

17.  Stresses that Regulation (EU) 2019/1240(10) should further improve the EU’s capacity to coordinate, cooperate and exchange information among immigration liaison officers deployed in third countries, the Commission and EU agencies, in order to respond more effectively to the Union's priorities in the field of migration; highlights that one of the central tasks of this EU network’s Steering Board is to support the development of the capabilities of immigration liaison officers, including through developing guidelines on implementing human rights as part of their activities; calls on the Commission, through the Steering Board, to urgently draw up such human rights-based guidelines;

18.  Recalls that other EU actors implementing the external migration policy in the context for example of EU naval missions, are also bound by applicable international law, and that forwarding information to authorities of third countries that ultimately results in the unlawful return of migrants and refugees to unsafe countries could be considered as assisting in human rights violations under international law; stresses that the EU’s external migration policy should not support interceptions at sea that return people to an unsafe port;

19.  Recommends the extension of the mandate, competences and budget of the Fundamental Rights Agency to allow it to effectively monitor the external dimension of EU asylum and migration policies, including by issuing alerts to the relevant authorities in cases of human rights shortcomings; calls on the Fundamental Rights Agency to develop relevant tools and guidelines;

20.  Notes with great concern that it is not possible to determine the identity of the majority of the people who die during the attempt to cross the Mediterranean; considers it necessary to establish a coordinated European approach in order to ensure prompt and effective identification processes, and to establish a database of those who died on their way to the EU as well of their belongings and personal items in order to provide information to their family and relatives and facilitate the identification of corpses; asks the EU and its Member States to better coordinate and improve European action in order to ensure adequate and effective search and rescue operations;

III.EU cooperation with and financial aid to third countries on migration

21.  Notes the increasing use since 2016 of enhanced conditionality between development cooperation and migration management, including return and readmission; underlines that EU development cooperation and assistance must be aligned with the sustainable development goals, including in the context of gender-related actions; stresses in this regard the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s definition of official development aid and the OECD’s Development Aid Effectiveness Principles; reiterates that according to Articles 21 TEU and 208 TFEU the primary objective of Union development cooperation policy is the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty, tackling inequality and exclusion, promoting democratic governance and human rights, and enhancing sustainable and inclusive development; underlines that such action, together with the development of stable institutions, are key to addressing the root causes of migration; calls on the Commission, therefore, to ensure that policies on development cooperation, including development assistance or bilateral or multilateral partnerships, do not contravene the principles enshrined in Article 208 TFEU;

22.  Calls for a needs-based approach to humanitarian assistance, which should respect humanitarian principles, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law; stresses furthermore that making humanitarian aid and emergency aid conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration is not compatible with humanitarian principles;

23.  Notes that a complete and public overview of EU funding to third countries for facilitating cooperation on migration issues remains unavailable; calls on the Commission to ensure full transparency, including by establishing a clear overview of all instruments within the EU budget used to finance cooperation with third countries in the field of migration management, including information on the amount, purpose and source of funding, as well as detailed information on any other potential support measures provided by EU agencies such as Frontex, in order to ensure that Parliament can effectively perform its institutional role exercising scrutiny of the implementation of the EU budget;

24.  Highlights the objective of European financial instruments to support third countries in the development of the necessary institutional framework and capacities to manage migration in all its aspects while aligning with European and international standards; stresses the importance of allocating a substantial share of future EU funding for migration to civil society, non-governmental and community-based groups and governmental, intergovernmental, regional and local organisations active in third countries in providing assistance, protecting and monitoring the rights of migrants, supporting forcibly displaced persons and their host communities; stresses the importance of ensuring that a significant proportion of EU funding is earmarked for the improvement of human rights, international protection, and the future prospects of refugees; calls for EU financial support to create sustainable solutions that address local and regional challenges, particularly those related democratic processes and the rule of law, socioeconomic development, healthcare, education, the root causes of poverty, youth employment in countries of origin, social exclusion, gender equality, climate change, conflicts, access to services, and to promote refugee rights and enhance self-reliance;

25.  Calls on the Commission to regularly and publicly report to Parliament on the funding of migration-related cooperation programmes in third countries and their human rights impact, and on the ways in which this funding has been used by partner countries, including to the working group on external financial instruments of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; deplores that Parliament is not involved in the scrutiny of emergency funds, including the EU Trust Funds (EUTF); calls for Parliament to be given a more prominent role in monitoring the impact of the use of EU financial contributions on human rights in the third countries concerned;

26.  Believes that Parliament must make full use of its powers of implementation, scrutiny and budgetary control, as well as of European Court of Auditors auditing procedures, for development funds, trust funds, facilities and other funding instruments used to meet EU policy goals related to migration, and ensure that EU funding decisions and related allocations comply with the Union’s principles of legality and sound financial management, in line with the EU’s Financial Regulation(11);

27.  Stresses that the human rights-based approach is applicable to all pillars of the NDICI, including crisis response in the rapid response pillar; stresses once again that migration-related spending in the NDICI should indicatively be 10 %, and that migration-related activities under the NDICI should concentrate on addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement, and on supporting increased engagement for facilitating safe, orderly, regular and responsible migration, as well as on the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies and governance; highlights that the NDICI is an external instrument and there should be a clear demarcation between internal and external EU migration policies, instruments and funds; underlines that the final agreement on migration-related activities in the NDICI should be horizontally coordinated with internal EU funds as well as the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) to avoid overlaps; notes that migration-related actions in crisis situations through the rapid response actions pillar should address, in particular, needs related to forced displacement, including supporting host communities, in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles; insists in this regard on the need to ensure that the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework is accompanied by a robust human rights framework for the identification, implementation and monitoring of future migration cooperation programmes, in order to link the disbursement of EU funding to human rights obligations;

IV.The EU’s external human rights policy and migration objectives

28.  Recalls the commitment of the EU and its Member States under the Global Compact on Refugees to share responsibility for the effective and comprehensive protection of refugees and to ease the pressure on host countries; stresses in this regard that the EU and its Member States should increase resettlement pledges, ensuring that resettlement is not made conditional upon the cooperation of the transit country on readmission or border control, and step up safe and legal pathways and preventing forced refugee returns from hosting countries; calls on the EU and its Member States to contribute to more structural and substantial funding of the communities and countries hosting most refugees; reiterates the importance of fully implementing the 23 objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration; believes that Parliament must exercise proper scrutiny of EU implementation of both compacts;

29.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to pursue a migration policy that fully reflects the human rights of migrants and refugees as enshrined in international, regional and national laws; calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the Member States to engage with third countries on the rights of migrants as an integral dimension of the EU’s human rights policy; insists that the nexus between human rights and migration should be adequately covered within the framework of bilateral EU human rights dialogues with the relevant countries; calls on the EU Delegations in these countries to closely monitor the rights of migrants, particularly in countries of transit, as well as the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons; emphasises the urgent need for safe and legal migration and protection routes to be created and strengthened in order to guarantee human rights and avoid loss of life; insists on the need for proactive EU engagement in countries where human rights defenders and civil society and community-based organisations, including those who are protecting the lives of migrants and asylum seekers who are at risk, are under threat or are being criminalised for their legitimate work;

30.  Calls for the EU to carry out a global campaign to support universal ratification of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol; urges Member States to lead by example by adhering to the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers, which is one of the core UN human rights conventions;

31.  Believes that the EU must take a leading role in supporting policy and normative developments in relation to the rights of migrants in multilateral fora; highlights the key role that international organisations, regional bodies and NGOs, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well the OHCHR and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase financial and political support to these organisations and entities;

32.  Calls for the EU to include diasporas, affected communities, refugee- and migrant-led organisations, particularly those led by women, and civil society representatives in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects carried out in third countries;

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33.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 189, 27.6.2014, p. 93.
(2) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 111.
(3) OJ C 294, 12.8.2016, p. 18.
(4) OJ C 346, 21.9.2016, p. 47.
(5) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 9.
(6) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 47.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0323.
(8) Council Directive 2002/90/EC of 28 November 2002 defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence (OJ L 328, 5.12.2002, p. 17).
(9) Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624 (OJ L 295, 14.11.2019, p. 1).
(10) Regulation (EU) 2019/1240 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on the creation of a European network of immigration liaison officers (OJ L 198, 25.7.2019, p. 88).
(11) Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).

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