Bureaucratic and communication obstacles

How is it possible to save lives that are buried in a pile of papers? How many permissions are needed for a rescue ship to set sail and search for people who are lost in dangerous boats across the Mediterranean? Is it possible to defend migrants rights from exile? The third and last pattern associated with the prosecution of solidarity with migrants and refugees in Europe has to do with a storm of bureaucratic and communication requirements that has increased in the last years..

Even when it’s true that most European institutions are ruled by the principle of trust, the tightening of the two last patterns shows how suspicion has taken control over the processes that the individuals and collectives who support migrants and refugees need to follow.

This translates into time and money. Whereas in the past it was done almost immediately, now more staff is needed to process all the paperwork. Procedures are delayed by the administrations’ inaction and the lack of political will. Permit applications pile up in national, local, or regional executive offices, and in the meantime, people in transit continue suffering from human rights violations. Some of them even end up dying in the Mediterranean.

Apart from the bureaucratic and information obstacles, as shown in the slow provision of translated files and documents, human rights organisations have also reported the violation of the defenders’ right to communication. Examples of this can be seen in the interception of private communications or in the lack of answers to their requests, such as the request for the different European security forces and sea rescue services to fulfil their duty to save lives.

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