The European Union and the African Migrants: Dilemma of Balancing Security and Human Rights

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Addis Ababa University


With objective of examines the response of the EU toward the rising number of African migrants in the light of human rights principles, this study assess whether the policy as well as practical measures of the EU is parallel with the international obligation under human rights law in the protection of African migrants. The paper also assesses how the economic, social and political condition in Africa has forced Africans to be immigrants. Also examines the EU‟s migration-security concern and how it has increasingly connected with the African migrants. To study these issues, the study has used qualitative research methodology. Data have been collected both from primary and secondary sources. Available literatures were highly reviewed to study the recent intertwined themes of migration, security and human rights trends in Europe with the particular emphasis of the African migrants. Furthermore, key informant interviews were conducted with various scholars and officials in the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Union and with various personnel in the institutions such as Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Centre for Human Rights Studies and Institute for Security Studies. Due to quite number of reasons, Africans have been migrating to Europe. Their reasons range from economic impasse in their countries to political persecutions, human rights abuses and intra and interstate conflicts. Recently the issue of migration in Europe is progressively viewed more from „a security-based approach‟ and EU governments increasingly have chosen a “more restrictive approach” in policy and practice towards third country nationals. The actual challenge and dilemma that the EU faces currently is the politics of migration with relation to the protection of the migrants‟ human rights. Finding from this study show the responses of the EU towards the African migrants is contradict with internationally accepted human rights standards. EU‟s border control patrols respond in denying the migrants to enter the Union without any inspection of migrants‟ case and the treatment during transfer to „third states‟ and condition of the detention centers all appears in contradiction with the fundamental international norms vis-a-vis migrants‟ human rights. Also the policy of externalization and the approach of FRONTEX often contradict with “movement-related rights” according to article 13 (1) of the UDHR and article 12(2) of the ICCPR. Key Words: Migration, Human Rights, Security, EU and African Migrants



Migration, Human Rights, Security, EU and African Migrants