UN agency calls on European Union to reinforce refugees’ rights

11 December 2009
Asylum-seekers from various countries gather near the northern French port of Calais

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed a new European Union (EU) asylum programme, but urged the body of nations to ensure the rights of refugees are protected.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed a new European Union (EU) asylum programme, but urged the body of nations to ensure the rights of refugees are protected.

The Stockholm Programme sets the EU’s priorities on asylum and other justice and home affairs issues from 2010 to 2014.

“At the same time, UNHCR calls on the EU to ensure that migration management objectives do now overshadow refugee protection principles,” agency spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said.

UNHCR hopes that the programme’s measures will promote free movement rights for refugees.

“While responsibility-sharing within the EU remains a major challenge, EU Member States should demonstrate more solidarity with countries hosting large refugee populations outside the EU, including through resettlement,” Mr. Mahecic said.

UNCHR also welcomes the EU’s expressed aim to build on its Common European Asylum System based on the ‘full and inclusive application’ of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, adding that it looks forward to working with the future European Asylum Support office, “which should focus on promoting quality and coherence of asylum decisions,” the spokesperson noted.

 

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