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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"
December 2004 Jean's asylum Report adopted!
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'.
Article about the report for the Parliament Magazine (March 2002)
"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"
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
"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?
"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"
"The individual right to seek asylum is a very precious one and should not be removed .... under any circumstances"
"We still fail to realise that Europe, and in particular the European Union countries, receive only a very small proportion of those seeking asylum."
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?
(Taken from Climate Institute (New York) report on three-year programme on 'environmental refugees': contributing editor Norman Myers)