Penalisation of Assistance

Keywords: Criminalisation

Irregular migration is fought in many ways. It is alarming that blocking access to social rights is one of the methods chosen. Recent developments in migration control have tended to criminalise undocumented migrants themselves, as well as the provision of social and humanitarian assistance offered to them by citizens and civil organisations.

The presence of undocumented  migrants and the perceived economic crisis in the EU are often manipulated by right wing parties to promote their position and foster a reactive approach to migration management. The rise of the extreme right is a real threat to European democracy and has certainly promoted the perception of undocumented migrants as criminals. Consequently, a certain logic has developed that people who assist them should be considered in infringement of the law and a danger for EU. European policies have thus been developed to facilitate systematic violations of undocumented migrants' human rights.

The approach of fighting irregular migration by denying basic social rights and condemning humanitarian aid, runs against the fundamentals of democratic societies  based on the universality of human rights.

Therefore, in order to preserve their internal labour market and also to prevent a rising up of extreme rights in Europe, following their plan to install a space of freedom, security, and justice, EU member States adopted many instruments to fight irregular migration at a EU level and at a national level too. Inside of the framework of the fight against irregular migration, we can see four types of measures taken by EU members States:

The  Directive 2002/90/EC longs to measures to fight undocumented migrants who are in the country and also to those who try to come in. Its particularity is that it doesn't concern directly undocumented migrants themselves but any person or institution who take profit of or help a migrant in irregular situation to entry, transit or reside in an EU States.


- PICUM's Books of Solidarity, which address the criminalisation of assistance in the EU - Click here

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