URGENT! Situation escalates warns the UNHCR
With increasing border restrictions across the Balkans, the UNHCR agency has early warned for the escalation of the situation into a humanitarian crisis similar to that on the Greek islands last autumn, and especially Lesvos .
Solving Europe’s refugees and migrants’ situation and preventing a new crisis in Greece (which has meanwhile occured, thoug, just in a few hours, as soon as borders closed, after the 7th of March), requires a number of clear actions, Adrian Edwards,UNHCR spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva.
Emergency Actions required
Among the most urgent of these actions when it comes to Greece is the need for
- better contingency planning,
- with increased accommodation capacity
- and other support.
“The authorities are trying to respond now to prevent a further deterioration of conditions throughout Greece.
But, more resources and better coordination are critical for averting wider suffering and chaos,” Edwards stressed.
UNHCR is continuing to support the response operation and has set up field offices in eight locations and deployed additional staff including mobile emergency teams who quickly move to wherever the changing situation demands.
registration and asylum
UNHCR is urging the Greek authorities with the support of the European Asylum Support Office and EU Member States to strongly reinforce its capacity to register and process asylum seekers through the national asylum procedure, as well as through the European relocation scheme.
In the overall management of the situation will also help, the UNHR has said,
- Increased regular pathways for admission of refugees from countries neighbouring Syria
- More resettlement and humanitarian admission,
- family reunification,
- private sponsorship, and
- humanitarian and refugee student and work visas
UNHCR will convene an important conference on this topic in Geneva on 30 March and hopes for concrete offers in this regard.
All the above measures serve to reduce demand for people smuggling, onward movements, and dangerous boat journeys. They thus save lives.
UNHCR spokesman underlined.
relocation in question
” It should concern everyone that despite commitments to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece, states have so far only pledged 1,539 spaces, and only 325 actual relocations have occurred,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards underlined.
Not a “Safe country ” is Turkey …
The FIDH Worldwide Movement for Human Rights strongly condemned by an official Organization Press Release, the EU States’ and Governments’ decesion of March 7, along with the Trurkish Government, and called on the EU and its member States to stop trying to push migrants away at all costs, stop bartering migrants as goods, but create instead legal and safe channels including through increasing their unconditional resettlement capacities.
the cynical ‘migrant swap’
With the help of NATO, the EU will ‘return all new irregular migrants’ crossing the Aegean Sea to Turkey. Given that migrants reaching Europe are mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis in need of international protection, FIDH is worried that these people will not have access to a fair and effective asylum process
According to the plan, the EU would resettle a Syrian from Turkey for every Syrian returned to Turkey
The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive., codemns FIDH President, Karim Lahidji
‘The announced ‘migrant swap’ shows once again the EU complete lack of consideration for migrants’ dignity and rights. Do we have to remind the EU and Turkish leaders that they are not bartering goods but dealing with human beings, some of them in urgent need of protection? The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive.’
According to EU Heads of State and Government, for this plan to be ‘legal’, Europe must grant a ‘safe country’ status to Turkey.
‘Under no circumstances can Turkey be considered a ‘safe country’ for migrants. The EU’s decision to turn a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation and the lack of an adequate asylum system does not mean it is a safe country. Refugees may be at risk of deportation, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This decision only sadly shows that in order to outsource its responsibilities, the EU is caving in to Turkish blackmail using migrants as bargaining chips.’’