Crackdown on NGOs assisting refugees and other migrants

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European Union (EU) and national policies are increasingly affecting civil society organisations and individuals who provide humanitarian assistance and access to rights to undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. The Facilitation Directive and its Framework Decision represent the main legislative instruments to tackle migrant smuggling and criminalise the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence of migrants in the European Union. Moreover, new criminalisation trends emerged in the context of the so-called “European refugee humanitarian crisis” aiming to punish the facilitation of entry and residence of irregular immigrants in the Member States. EU and national policies hinder the movement and operations of NGOs providing humanitarian assistance by means of legal restrictions and administrative penalties. Furthermore, a controversial shift in attitudes of the public and media is directly, or indirectly, undermining the work and the freedom of civil society actors and individuals in the Member States. EU and national political developments are leading to restrictions and obstructions to the activities of civil society organisations and a serious deterioration of the rule of law, democracy, freedom of assembly and association and the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

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