Amid renewed European Commission vows to combat human smuggling, human rights organizations have warned that the European Union's migration policy contributed to human rights breaches.
Speaking after a meeting hosted by Italy between European interior ministers and their North African counterparts, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said the EU wanted to enhance cooperation with African countries to combat human smuggling and trafficking.
The representatives of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, virtually met with their counterparts from Germany, France, Spain, and Malta, and the EU commission.
"Partnership with third countries is essential to find a good way to manage migration," Johansson said at a press conference. "Gangs prey on vulnerable people and profit from the dangerous journeys they organize ... These routes are deadly. We have lost thousands of lives during these routes while smugglers are gaining money."
Preventing refugees from arriving
But Amnesty International warned that the EU's migration policy did not protect those in need, and instead merely aimed at preventing refugees from arriving at the EU borders.
The burden of hosting migrants in need of protection then fell onto the third countries, Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International Germany Julia Duchrow said.
"This outsourcing of responsibility for taking in those seeking protection is a farce and often goes hand in hand with human rights violations," she said.