Irregular migrants: readmission agreements and voluntary return programmes

Strasbourg, 22.06.2010 - In a joint debate today the Assembly called on member States to only apply readmission agreements in the cases of countries which respect human rights and have a fully functioning asylum system. This is fundamental, the parliamentarians said, to protect irregular immigrants, especially third-country nationals who may risk finding themselves in a country which is not their`s of origin and where they have limited social rights and no opportunities to submit an asylum application. According to the rapporteur Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) , ”the chain of readmission agreements will hinder the chances of refugees to reach a safe haven”. The adopted text based on her proposals urges towards greater transparency by compiling statistics on and monitoring the implementation of readmission agreements.

In a second text also adopted, based on a report by Ozlem Turkone (Turkey, EPP/CD) PACE invited member states to promote assisted voluntary returns favouring programmes suggested by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which include: pre-departure counselling, giving current information about their home region and assistance in obtaining the necessary documents; then transportation assistance whether financially or in practical terms according to need; and finally post arrival assistance which ensures a sustainable return and helps development in the country of origin through training and employment opportunities.