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Human Rights central to any future EU policy on asylum & immigration: McDonald

26 October, 2004

Following this weeks meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Luxembourg, Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has called for 'meaningful human rights protection to inform any future EU policy on asylum and immigration'.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

'This week, Justice and Home Affairs Ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the future of asylum and immigration policy within the EU. The meeting includes discussions of proposals under the Hague Programme to develop a common European Asylum system before 2010.

'Sinn Féin has serious concerns with the tenor and direction of the discussions and their implications for the human rights and civil liberties of asylum seekers and immigrants.

'Sinn Féin has argued that any future common asylum and immigration policy must place human rights protection at its centre. Such an approach must see a harmonisation of best practice across the EU .

'We would favourably consider a common immigration and asylum policy that is fully human rights-compliant, consistent with international law, and based on best practice. Nothing less is acceptable. We oppose any attempts to use this policy to create a "lowest common denominator" with regard to immigration and asylum law and policy.

'In view of our national experience of the positive capacity and potential of immigrants to contribute to society, we oppose the evolution of fortress Europe-style common migration and asylum policies for adoption under the Tampere Agenda. Sinn Féin has campaigned against the creation of a fortress Europe, and will continue to do so.' ENDS

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