Dalhuisen, born in 1976, worries that Amnesty and Western liberals are harbouring a misplaced confidence in the irreversibility of human rights achievements. He is stunned by the careless self–assurance with which many proponents of open borders – and given their demands this de facto includes organizations such as Amnesty, Human Rights Watch or Doctors Without Borders - believe the right to asylum to be beyond the reach of political forces. They seem to consider the Geneva Refugee Convention or the asylum articles of European Constitutions to be something carved in stone, a kind of natural law. But that’s just not the case. Gravity cannot be abolished – but the Geneva Convention can be, as can the right to asylum enshrined in national constitutions. All things human–made can be destroyed by humans. “And this will eventually happen if we fail to protect borders by other, more humane measures than by abolishing the right to asylum,” Dalhuisen fears. Reduced to three sentences, his assessment is this: If you want an open Europe that continues to help those in need, you must counteract the emergence of political majorities that want to abolish or nullify the right to asylum.
This can only work if the political mainstream succeeds in removing the most important reason for the emergence of such forces – uncontrolled, or the perception of uncontrolled, immigration – by securing Europe’s borders more effectively. But Dalhuisen found that few within the human rights movement, including Amnesty, see things this way.
Is this scaremongering? Or kowtowing to populism? Dalhuisen rejects that. After all, he says, the writing is on the wall everywhere. In Germany, when Frauke Petry was still leading the AfD, she suggested to transform the right to asylum into a privilege awarded at the state’s direction. In Great Britain, many Tories, including Theresa May, think that the country should leave the European Convention on Human Rights. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is closing borders and rejects the admission of Muslim migrants in principle. When Orbán says: “We do not regard these people as Muslim refugees. We regard them as Muslim invaders”, you will find groups in all parts of Europe applauding him. Any human rights activist who has no sense of how far–reaching the dangers of such statements are, is making a serious mistake, warns Dalhuisen. “No one should assume that international human rights conventions are unalterable. They can be changed and will be changed if a majority wants it.”
26 March 2018
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung article on ESI senior fellow John Dalhuisen: "If you don't compromise you lose"
- 3 April 2018: Interview in Süddeutsche Zeitung on European refugee policy
- 26 March 2018: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung article on ESI senior fellow John Dalhuisen: "If you don't compromise you lose"
- 20 March 2018: Bremen – ESI keynote lecture on the future of European asylum and migration policy
- 13 March 2018: Belgrade – ESI at regional conference on the latest strategy of the European Commission for the Western Balkans
- 8 March 2018: Dublin and Belfast – ESI lecture on the EU-Turkey Deal two years on and meetings post-conflict reconciliation
- 7 March 2018: Vienna – ESI moderates a workshop on EU enlargement in the Western Balkans
- 7 March 2018: Berlin – ESI at think tank meeting on Turkey
- 1 March 2018: Rome – ESI at FEPS Global Migration Group meeting: "The dilemmas of the destination countries"
- 28 February 2018: Skopje and Tirana – ESI takes part in a brainstorming on the EU strategy for the Western Balkans
- 20 February 2018: The Hague and Ter Apel – ESI meetings with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service and public debates on the EU-Turkey deal
- 27 January 2018: Munich – ESI at public debate on "Fences for Africa?"
- 25 January 2018: Belgrade – ESI at panel on the upcoming EU strategy for the Western Balkans
- 25 January 2018: Athens – ESI presentations on how to rescue EU asylum policy in the Mediterranean
- 22 January 2018: Brussels – ESI at COWEB meeting on the Western Balkans at the Council of the EU
- 10 January 2018: Rome – Lecture at Nato Defense College on the Western Balkans and meetings on EU asylum and migration policy
- 18 December 2017: Sofia – Discussions on migration at the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- 15 December 2017: Belgrade – ESI at conference on the Western Balkans' EU perspective
- 13 December 2017: Berlin – ESI discussing Europe's challenges
- 10 December 2017: Amsterdam and The Hague – Fact-finding mission to study the Dutch asylum system
- 7 December 2017: Novi Sad – ESI discusses EU perspective of the Western Balkans
- More news…