Disembarkation platforms

Banksy Art


Disembarkation platforms & controlled centers

Disembarkation platforms and controlled centers are concepts that have been explored at recent EU meetings.

What would the main objectives of the proposed regional disembarkation platforms be?

The concept of regional disembarkation platforms has two main objectives:

People rescued at sea are quickly disembarked in line with international law, in a place of safety that upholds respect for their rights including non-refoulement.

Responsible post-disembarkation processes take place with the support of all concerned actors, and in cooperation with UNHCR and IOM, in order to offer differentiated solutions and reduce the risk of onward movement while avoiding pull factors.



What are controlled centers?


The concept of a controlled center has been suggested as a temporary place that is established with facilities to process people who are part of current migratory flows. Identifying people, fingerprinting, security screening, processing and perhaps the assessment of asylum applicants are some of the activities that have been suggested as possible within these centers.

The concept of controlled centers is seen as having a value through the following mechanisms

(1) Rapid, secured and effective processing that reduces the risk of secondary movements; controlled access to protection to those in need with swift returns of all those who are not; upfront security screening

(2) Full EU financial support for all infrastructure and operational costs, the Member State’s staffing needs, the needs of EU Agencies and of International Organisations that may operate in such centres

(3) Full EU operational support leading to increased synergies between asylum and return processing, as well as early identification of potential security risks, by specialised European teams

(4) Full EU support to return operations, including assisted voluntary returns and reintegration (AVRR), as well as to voluntary relocation.


Migrants & Refugees

It has been acknowledged within the Non-paper on regional disembarkation arrangements that region-wide action and responsibility needs to be taken in order to reduce deaths at sea. In addition, to the care of people rescued at sea the paper recognises the need to swiftly transport rescued people to safe locations. The concepts of regional disembarkation platforms and controlled centers are proposed as being ‘fully interlinked’, and as such ‘aim to ensure a truly shared regional responsibility on replying to the complex migration challenges’. Ref

Do these concepts contribute towards creating safe legal pathways for people who are fleeing conflict, poverty or natural disasters and address the root causes of migration? Accurate data on migrant flows into Europe is notoriously difficult to acquire. IOM data suggests that between January and April 2018 ‘30,971 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe’ IOM Figures that suggest a decrease of 30% from the previous year. Could it be that ‘the idea behind these offshore centers isn’t new. Policymakers in Brussels and other European capitals have floated similar proposals for years, and never had any success in implementing them. The reason is simple: They present too many problems and are incompatible with European values.’?POLITICO

Refugee deaths

Since 1993-2018 at least 34,361 refugee deaths can be attributed to the ‘Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe’. Amnesty International reported last year that ‘the soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centers are clearly linked to failing EU policies’. Starting to protect the lives of people on migration routes is of paramount importance.






The follow up to the European Council conclusions in June 2018.
Image from The follow up to the European Council conclusions in June 2018


UNITED list of deaths

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Non-paper on ‘controlled centres’ in the EU

Non-paper on regional disembarkation arrangements

Factsheet on ‘controlled centres’ in the EU

Factsheet on regional disembarkation arrangements

European Council conclusions, 28 June 2018


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