European countries' "shameful" response to the migrant crisis and their counter-terrorism policies risk undermining their historic commitment to human rights, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday, singling out France for particular criticism.
he London-based campaign group, traditionally more used to lambasting dictatorships for rights abuses, used its annual report to take some of the world's oldest democracies to task.
Several countries in the European Union's passport-free Schengen area have reimposed border controls in response to a huge wave of migrants and refugees fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
"That Europe, which is the richest bloc in the world, is not able to take care of the basic rights of some of the most persecuted people in the world, is shameful," said Amnesty Secretary General Salil Shetty.
He called for safe, legal routes for people to reach Europe and said they should be treated on a case by case basis, not subjected to "collective punishment".
"The majority of countries, with the honourable exception perhaps of Germany, have simply decided that the protection of their borders is more important than the protection of the rights of refugees," added Amnesty's Europe director John Dalhuisen