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Immigration and Asylum

The future of asylum and immigration policies is a focal issue at the moment in all European countries, and Jean is involved both in the Parliament's work on developing EU policy as well as contributing to the debate in the UK. She is the Green Group expert on asylum and immigration issues.

"Our governments act as if asylum seekers have nothing to offer our society or our economy"
Jean's UK work
EU Asylum and Immigration Policy
Environmental Refugees
December 2004 Jean's asylum Report adopted!

Jean Lambert was author of the latest report to come from Parliament on asylum procedures. To find out more CLICK HERE

Asylum: Who is a refugee and what rights should refugees receive?

Jean was the Parliament's 'Rapporteur' (responsible MEP) on a report for the Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee concerning minimum standards for determining who qualifies as a refugee - ie how to interpret the definition of a refugee. It also sets out the status refugees and people with other forms of international protection will receive in the host Member State. The Parliament adopted the final report in October 2002.

The Council (Member State governments) are currently still in discussion on the report, as of March 2003. It looks likely that a final text will be adopted by June 2003. Unfortunately, the Council is not obliged to take the Parliament's opinion on this matter into account, as this process is not going through under the 'co-decision' procedure but only 'consultation'.

22nd October 2002 Press Release

October 2002 Parliament's Final report

Read the Commission's proposal

Briefing on Jean's report

Article about the report for the Parliament Magazine (March 2002)


UK Events and Action

  • January 2004: At an asylum demonstration outside the House of Commons Green Party Euro-MP Jean Lambert slammed the government's asylum policy as 'outrageous' and 'unjust' She highlighted that Government policy was based on a classic 'Catch-22' situation - closing 'legal' entry methods to asylum seekers and then denying applications from those migrants deemed to have entered the country illegally.

  • 27th January 2003: Violent attacks on asylum seekers are being fuelled by the Daily Mail's racist campaign against refugees and immigrants, according to London Euro-MP Jean Lambert. "The Daily Mail's racist war on refugees and immigrants is contributing to a climate of fear and violence," said Mrs Lambert, Green MEP for London. Read press release

  • 9th December 2002: Jean calls for UK to ratify migration treaty on UN Human Rights Day. Read press release

  • 8th December 2002: Jean addresses public meeting on how UK foreign investment creates asylum seekers Read her speech

  • 15th August 2002: Jean calls on Lottery Chief to resist Home Office attempts to destroy Asylum support group - the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaign Read Press release

  • 20th June 2002: "Asylum crackdown will create more refugees, Green MEP tells London Demo". Read this PRESS RELEASE on the Green Party website.

  • 23rd March 2002: Jean speaks at a conference to defend asylum seekers in Manchester. READ HER SPEECH

  • 8th February 2002: Jean visits London asylum organisations PRESS RELEASE

  • 6 February 2002: Fairer treatment for immigrants please! PRESS RELEASE

  • 15 January 2002: Jean welcomes halt on deportations of Zimbabwean asylum seekers. PRESS RELEASE

  • 6 December 2001: Jean welcomes High Court decision declaring carriers liability illegal PRESS RELEASE

EU Asylum & Immigration Policy

"a restrictive approach to immigration has not worked and is counter-productive. We have only to look at the increase in trafficking and the difficulty in recruiting skilled professionals to demonstrate this"
  • February 2003: Speaking in the European Parliament, Jean Lambert called for more flexible rules for foreign workers. She highlighted the problem faced by many companies when trying to secure work permits for employees coming from outside the EU and expressed support for proposals to reduce bureaucracy in order to facilitate this process. Read Jean's speech

  • October 2002: Euro MPs vote to stand by promises to protect people in need. A report adopted 22nd October by a clear majority of Euro MPs puts pressure on governments to ensure that all asylum migrants in need of international protection are welcomed to EU countries.


Read Jean's statement for Refugee week 2005

Asylum was a key topic discussed at the Green Party Spring Conference. Find out more


In 2004 Jean joined a mass sleep out in Trafalgar Square to highlight the human cost of the Government's Asylum and Immigration Bill. Press release


Selected Speeches:

"I believe that we need to be clear that the asylum system in Europe should not be about deterrence, sufferance and an attitude of “you’re lucky to be here, be grateful for what you’re given”. We need to link our asylum policy not only to fair treatment and justice but development"

From keynote speech at EQUAL ASSET/ Refugee Council Conference in March 2005


"The Commission's dual approach – to aim for a universally high standard of application of the current directives within the EU and to improve the conditions for the vast majority of refugees within the region they are fleeing – is a reasonable and indeed ambitious programme"

From speech on the eve of Jean's Asylum Report vote in Parliament, December 2004


"Refugees are not born, as we may be born black or white, male or female, but are made. Every refugee is the creation of human agency. If we can create refugees, by changing our activities we can stop creating them."

From speech at the national launch of the Refugee Project, House of Commons, June 2004


Asylum Policy in 2003 - what was on the table?

Article for the Parliament magazine


"The EU must examine its policies and practices to see what we do that acts as a push factor for migration"


On immigration: "We have to remember that we are talking about human beings, not cogs in an economic wheel"

Green Party of England and Wales Refugees policy


Link to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees

"The individual right to seek asylum is a very precious one and should not be removed .... under any circumstances"


European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)


"We still fail to realise that Europe, and in particular the European Union countries, receive only a very small proportion of those seeking asylum."







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Environmental Refugees

Last October, Jean was asked to give a speech to the World University Service on Environmental Refugees. Jean is keen to highlight the increasing link between asylum seekers and areas of environmental decline, and has produced a report entitled "Refugees and The Environment: The forgotten element of sustainability".

Read Jean's report in full (June 2002)

Jean's speech on Environmental Refugees (October 2001)

Article on Environmental Refugees (February 2002)


What is an environmental refugee?

  • It is very difficult to estimate the numbers of environmental refugees in the world, as they do not fall under the official protection of the UN. The Red Cross found that: "natural disasters in 1998 created more refugees than wars or other armed conflicts. Declining soil fertility, drought, flooding and deforestation drove 25 million 'environmental refugees' from their land and into vulnerable squatter communities of crowded cities: 58% of the total refugee population worldwide." (10 million recognized, 15 million unrecognized).

  • According to a Bioscience journal, climate change will increase environmental refugees from 25 million to 150 million by 2050. Govt estimates in China put climate change displacement at 30 million people. Some estimates go as high as 72 million.

  • Three fifths of refugees are environmental refugees; 12 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Half the total are displaced within their own countries. 30+ countries have generated more than 100,000 refugees each. Almost 1 person in 200 worldwide is an environmental refugee.

  • If a proportionate number of people in the UK were to become environmental refugees, they would total 254,000; and in the US, 1.1 million. Each day roughly 5,000 people abandon their homelands for environmental reasons.

(Taken from Climate Institute (New York) report on three-year programme on 'environmental refugees': contributing editor Norman Myers)


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