“Europe's cities and regions are in the frontline when it comes to managing the reception and integration of refugees. This is a responsibility that we, as local and regional elected representatives, must take on by guaranteeing their human, but also their economic and social rights,” stated Harald Bergmann, thematic spokesperson for the Congress on human rights, on 18 June 2019, prior to World Refugee Day on 20 June.
“In the field, we must make sure that they have access to employment and training, to housing, schooling and health, with particular attention paid to unaccompanied minors, who often need psychological and social support. This is the approach recommended by the Congress of the Council of Europe in the many texts it has adopted,” the spokesperson added, underlining the fact that this requires an integrated approach at all levels of government and the allocation of sufficient funds to local authorities.
The Congress has recently published a Human Rights Handbook for local and regional authorities, the first volume of which deals with fighting discrimination and presents good practices regarding the reception and integration of refugees. “Successful initiatives across Europe show the diversity of solutions that can be implemented and their positive impact on the whole community,” concluded the spokesperson.