Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Military Drones for Migrant Control in Europe?

You're probably aware of the fact that immigration is a sensitive and highly polarized topic nowadays - with politicians and immigrants in democratic European countries, like Finland, facing death threats for "treasonous" immigration policies. It's with little doubt therefore that the European Union (EU) is considering the use of military hardware - unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and track down of migrants along the union's borders, according to IPS. In June this year, FRONTEX - the EU's border management agency will meet in Spain with manufacturers of military drones, for presentations on how the hardware can be used by coast guards for migrant control in Europe.

Although the technology would be used for nonmilitary work - border surveillance, human activists and organizations, including Amnesty International have expressed concern about this controversial move. Every individual has the right to seek asylum in a country other than his country of origin and military drones for migrant control would jeopardize this right. This is the case because many migrants would be intercepted in the high seas and returned without due process, to countries where their basic human rights are not guaranteed. People seeking protection in the EU have the right, under international law to have their case heard and not to be returned to face torture, political persecution, inhumane or degrading treatment or death. This right is enshrined in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many other human rights instruments guarantee this right.

Without going into the intricacies of international law, the bottom line is - the EU knows better! Military drones for migrant control in Europe is a threat to the "dwindling right" to seek asylum.

What are your thoughts? Should military drones be used for migrant control in Europe? Do you favor Europe's "security approach" to immigration?

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