EU row: Bloc ‘breaking international law' over migrant crisis

THE EU was accused of breaking international law over its handling of the migrant crisis as southern Europe faces yet another wave of arrivals from Africa and the Middle East.

PUBLISHED: 18:04, Thu, Sep 10, 2020 | UPDATED: 18:04, Thu, Sep 10, 2020

Greece has been forced to send three ships to help thousands of migrants sleeping rough on the island of Lesbos after fire destroyed their overcrowded camp. Families of those fleeing conflict or economic impoverishment spent their second night in a row sleeping on roads, fields and car parks after Moria camp burst into flames. Around 13,000 people had been living in sub-par conditions.

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About 400 teenagers and children have been flown to mainland Greece.

The disaster is part of the southern European nation's second migrant crisis wave.

Beginning in 2015, the European Commission claimed the crisis to have ended in 2019.

However, in recent weeks, countries as far away as Britain have experienced an influx of those hoping to make a better life.

EU latest: The bloc has been accused of breaking international law over the migrant crisisEU latest: The bloc has been accused of breaking international law over the migrant crisis (Image: GETTY)

Moria camp: The sprawling camp became engulfed in flames displacing 13,000 migrantsMoria camp: The sprawling camp became engulfed in flames displacing 13,000 migrants (Image: GETTY)

Hundreds of ships have been intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea and English Channel in recent weeks.

Many have lamented the EU's action or lack thereof to diffuse the dire humanitarian crisis and relieve stress on the nation's worst hit.

Last year, the Council of Europe (CoE), an international human rights organisation, claimed that in its treatment of migrants, the EU broke international law.

The group urged the bloc to do more in sea rescues, especially in the Mediterranean.

JUST INBBC's Katya Adler explains why Brussels fears Boris will walk away

Greece latest: Greece and its islands have been hard hit in the news wave of migrant influxGreece latest: Greece and its islands have been hard hit in the news wave of migrant influx (Image: GETTY)

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The CoE said EU member states were “too focused on preventing refugees and migrants from reaching European shores” and have adopted restrictive policies with “too little on the humanitarian and human rights aspects”.

Member states adopted tighter controls following the 2015 crisis that saw an estimated one million migrants cross the sea from the Middle East and Africa.

Policies, that many decried as fanning the flames of discord, such as providing aid to Libya and Turkey to help deter would-be migrants were put in place.

At the time, the bloc said it would continue its newfound approach in its Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024.

Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner claimed many European countries had breached their "legal obligations".

In a statement at the time, she said: “A number of states have adopted laws, policies and practices contrary to their legal obligations to ensure effective search and rescue operations, swift and safe disembarkation and treatment of rescued people, as well as the prevention

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