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Rights group slams EU’s purchase of Israeli drones to track asylum seekers

May 7, 2020 at 10:30 am

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has slammed the EU’s purchase of Israeli drones to track asylum seekers. The rights group described the EU’s €59 million contracts with Israeli companies to supply drones for the surveillance of asylum seekers at sea as immoral and of questionable legality.

“The EU purchase of Israel drones encourages human rights abuses in occupied Palestine while the misuse of any drones to intercept migrants and asylum seekers would lead to serious abuses in the Mediterranean,” said Euro-Med Monitor, which called for the EU to cancel its deal with the occupation state, which is a well-known abuser of human rights. “The EU should immediately terminate these contracts and refrain from using drones against asylum seekers, especially the practice of returning such persons to Libya, thus thwarting their pursuit of safety.”

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, purchased the Israeli Elbit Company’s Hermes 900 drone, “which was tested on the caged population of the besieged Gaza Strip in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.”

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The Euro-Med statement pointed out that, “This shows EU investment in Israeli equipment whose value was demonstrated by its use in the course of oppressing the Palestinian people and occupying their territory. These drone purchases will be seen correctly as supporting and inciting such experimental use of military technology by Israel’s repressive regime.”

According to the Chairman of Euro-Med’s Board of Trustees, Professor Richard Falk, it is “outrageous” for the EU to buy drones from Israel manufacturers considering the “repressive and unlawful ways” that drones have been used to oppress Palestinians living under occupation for more than fifty years. “It is also unacceptable and inhumane for the EU to use drones, however obtained, to violate the basic rights of migrants risking their lives at sea to seek asylum in Europe.”