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Confiscation of refugee property, "an act of supreme inhumanity"

25 January, 2016 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson, has slammed the policy of confiscating the property and cash of refugees, a policy now being implemented by several European states.

Speaking after a European Parliamentary committee debate on the issue, Martina Anderson said;

"If the refugee and humanitarian crisis was to be considered a test of the EU's capacity for humanity then it would be failing miserably. The latest knee-jerk reaction by the right wing in Europe is to confiscate the possessions and cash of refugees.

"I find this concept utterly repulsive and supremely inhumane. Refugees are fleeing the worst excesses of conflict and utter devastation, making treacherous journeys in sub-zero temperatures or across the floating graveyard that is the Mediterranean, to seek shelter and protection in the EU and its neighbours.

"It was insulting enough that these people were being met with border forces, fences and detention centres - now they are being stripped of whatever meagre savings they could muster or any 'valuable' items they may have on their person.

A member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, Martina Anderson continued;

"Two German states currently operate this policy, with one, Baden-Württemberg, confiscating anything with a value greater than €350. The Danish government is currently pushing a bill with similar objectives through the Danish Parliament. This bill has the expressed aim to 'further tighten the criteria for asylum and access to Denmark.

"The Danish Government hopes to prolong the application process for asylum seekers and narrow the availability of residence permits. They also wish to make it legal for police to confiscate the property and cash of refugees.

"Amnesty International, The Danish Institute of Human Rights and The Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks have all righty criticised these plans. We in Sinn Féin believe that the Danish government should serious reconsider this bill and strive to protect and enshrine the rights of all people, rather than undermine them entirely.

MEP Anderson concluded,

"Unfortunately the European reaction to the humanitarian crisis has become increasingly inhumane. As a full member of the Civil Liberties committee, I will continue to work with progressive voices in Europe to promote humane and dignified solutions to the ongoing refugee crisis." ENDS

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