Migrants and refugees have been a permanent concern of the Council of Europe, especially as migration driven by globalization continues to be a shaping force of European society. The Council of Europe, following the principle of non-discrimination, has encouraged the protection of the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced people. In particular, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted in 2010 its Recommendation 1917 “Migrants and refugees: a continuing challenge for the Council of Europe”, encouraging the signature and implementation of the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers by member States and requesting the Council of Europe to further develop hard and soft law instruments and practical activities pertaining to migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and displaced persons. The Parliamentary Assembly has also dealt with environmental and climate refugees in its Resolution 1655 (2009) on “Environmentally induced migration and displacement: a 21st Century Challenge”, noting in particular that natural disasters and environmental degradation will cause human migration, with humanitarian and security dimensions. In this Resolution, the Parliamentary Assembly calls, amongst other actions, to promote policy coherence in migration, development and humanitarian policies, as well as climate change adaptation policies including dealing with their effects on migrants.
The Council of Europe Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons has also promoted the development of policies for the protection of the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons and the improvement of their living conditions.
Clearly these groups are also more vulnerable in the face of a disaster given their limited access to resilience information (they may not master the language of the State where they are displaced, not be aware of risks familiar to locals, etc.). These groups may also experience increased vulnerability if their living conditions are below average (refugee camps, marginal settings in dangerous areas) or if, as a consequence of their situation, they have poor health, relatively low education, etc.
The integration of migrants has been on the agenda of the Council of Europe for decades, aiming to identify and share good practice and encourage access to better living conditions.
Conference on Migrants and DRR
The Eur-opa Major Hazards Agreement held a Conference Major Hazards and Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees on 14 October 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. “Disaster risk management policy and practice need to adjust to the much greater mobility of people, and the increasingly complex relationship between risk and mobility.
13th Ministerial Session
Meeting on 26 October 2016 in Lisbon 2017 at the occasion of the 13th ministerial session of EUR-OPA, the ministers from the 25 States parties to the Agreement working in the field of disaster risk reduction, adopted the Recommendation (2016)1 on Major Hazards and Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees
2017 Forum EFDRR
On 28 March, in the framework of the 2017 European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR), EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement organised a Session on “Migration, Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience” to discuss the need for more co-ordinated, integrated and inclusive approaches to disaster risk reduction with regard to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
- 4th meeting of the Working group on Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the context of major risk prevention and management, 6 June 2016, Paris, France
- 3rd Meeting of the WG on migrants, asylum seekers and regugees and DRR, 10-11 March 2016, Aix-en-Provence, France
- 2nd Meeting of the WG on migrants, asylum seekers and regugees and DRR, 22 October 2015, Brussels, Belgium
General Recommendations of the Working Group
- 1st Meeting of the WG on migrants, asylum seekers and regugees and DRR, 11 June 2015, Paris, France
- Civil protection in diverse societies: migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the context of major risks prevention and management, 12-13 June 2014, Strasbourg, France