Published On:Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

Europe more afraid of migrants than terror: rights monitor

Europe more afraid of migrants than terror: rights monitor

STRASBOURG: Europe is more scared of the migrant influx than of terrorism, a European rights monitor said in a report published on Monday.
In an annual report, Nils Muiznieks, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, described 2015 as “a year of fear and insecurity” for the continent. “In such an atmosphere, governments tend to neglect their human rights obligations and public opinion sometimes encourages this trend,” he warned the 47-nation council, which is based in Strasbourg.
Muiznieks pointed to the impact on public mood from two terror attacks in Paris — a January assault on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, followed by the coordinated bloodshed in November that killed 130 people. But “even more widespread than fear of terrorism was a growing fear occasioned by continuing migrant inflows,” he said, describing it as a “multi-faceted fear” which had affected many European countries.
“For some, the influx signalled the helplessness of individual governments and Europe as a whole to control borders. “For others, the continuing arrivals and the attending strains exacerbated doubts about Europe’s ability to manage diversity and fed anti-Muslim prejudices, which were already widespread.”
Muiznieks expressed concern over that fact that governments were focussed more on cutting welfare entitlements than integrating new arrivals. “What is more, a growing trend in many countries augured huge problems in achieving integration in the future,” he said.
The report also sounded the alarm over insecurity in eastern Ukraine, which had prompted the government in Kiev to seek exemption from certain rights obligations, and over media freedom in parts of eastern Europe, including Poland, and the Balkans.
Meanwhile, Dozens of migrants stranded on Greece’s northern border with Macedonia hurled stones at police, a Reuters witness said, after one man living in the sprawling tent city near the town of Idomeni was injured by a police van.
Police fired teargas to break up the crowd. Some migrants said the man had fainted as he left his tent and was then hit by the van. A small pool of blood could be seen on the ground. The man was taken to a local hospital and was not seriously hurt, Greek media said. It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.
Migrants tried to tear down the razor wire fence between the two countries last week but were blocked by Macedonian forces and dozens were wounded when Macedonian police fired teargas and rubber bullets at them. A million migrants, many fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in conflict in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have poured into Europe through Greece since last year. Those camped at Idomeni are among some 53,000 migrants and refugees stranded in Greece following border closures across the Balkans, the preferred route to western Europe.
Earlier on Monday, Greek police tried to persuade dozens to leave as they protested on the railway tracks that pass through the camp into Macedonia. Most refused. The tracks have been blocked by the migrants for about a month, forcing trains to re-route through Bulgaria. Wagons loaded with goods have been stranded on the tracks for weeks. “The police come every day and ask us to open the railway but this is our final hope,” said a Syrian man who gave his name as Abdul. “If we let them open the rail lines we will be forgotten here.” 

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