Council of Europe meeting challenges of massive migrant and refugee flow   

When the UN General Assembly proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants Day in 2000, no one could have anticipated the unprecedented wave of people arriving in Europe from war-torn Syria and other conflict zones in and near the Middle East in 2015.

The constant flow of millions of human beings taking perilous paths towards safety in Europe has led to both logistical and human rights challenges for host countries.

To further assist Council of Europe member states, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland this week announced the appointment of a Special Representative on Migration and Refugees, who will undertake fact-finding missions, liaise with international partners including the UNHCR, IOM, UNICEF, EU, FRONTEX, to reinforce Council of Europe cooperation with these organisations.

Faced with extraordinary circumstances, the Secretary General had already outlined guidance for member States on the treatment of migrants and refugees in September 2015.

The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) marks International Migrants Day with some of its members visiting detention centres and administrative facilities for irregular migrants and asylum seekers in many member states.  

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