Refugee Crisis Triggers Rights Clampdown: HRW

Refugee Crisis Triggers Rights Clampdown: HRW
Wed Jan 27, 2016 18:20:18

European governments have responded to fears of terrorism and an influx of Muslim refugees by cracking down on basic freedoms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned Wednesday.

In a departure from previous years, the New York-based watchdog’s annual report did not open with the latest news from active war zones, but instead focused on the knock-on effects of conflict.

“Fears of terror attacks and of the potential impact of refugee influx led to a visible scaling back of rights in Europe and other regions,” HRW Director Kenneth Roth warned, introducing the report.

“In Europe and the United States, a polarizing us-versus-them rhetoric has moved from the political fringe to the mainstream,” he wrote.

“Blatant Islamophobia and shameless demonizing of refugees have become the currency of an increasingly assertive politics of intolerance.”

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul to present the report, Roth also denounced as “despicable” legislation agreed by Denmark to seize the valuables of migrants to pay for their stay.

The plan appears “purely indicative and purely an effort to send a signal ‘don’t you dare come to Denmark if you’re an asylum seeker who has arrived to European Union’,” he said.

The report also cites the example of France, where — in the aftermath of the November 13 attacks on bars, a concert hall and a sports stadium in Paris — authorities have tightened emergency laws.

Suspected radicals have been confined to house arrest without trial, and police have been given stronger powers to search addresses without a judicial warrant.

In its report, HRW warned that these “potentially indiscriminate policing techniques” risk exposing blameless young Muslim men to racial profiling.

The crackdown in Europe has been mirrored in the United States by heightened campaign rhetoric from figures such as Donald Trump, the Republican White House hopeful who has proposed banning Muslims from entering America, AFP reported.


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