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© Candice Imbert - Council of Europe

© Sandro Weltin - Council of Europe


How can the Council of Europe help Italy to ease the situation of refugees and other migrants?


Video presentation at the San Diego International Conference on Global Strategies to Help Refugee and Displaced Children


On 29 January 2017, Tomáš Boček participated, via a pre-recorded video message, in a conference organised in San Diego by the Global Institute on Refugee and Displaced Children of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN). The general theme of the conference was Global Strategies to Help, with a special focus on the enormous strain placed on child protection services by recent population movements across continents. The topic of the Special Representative’s session was “The migrant and refugee crisis in Eastern and Western Europe – Policy, Challenges and Responses.”

Statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November


We were running from violence, she said… Aysa, a 17-year-old Afghan migrant girl whom I met during my missions. 

Indeed violence became a reality along her way to Europe and even when she arrived.

Before her eyes, her mother was beaten, threatened and subjected to extortion. Her mother later on miscarried her baby, due to stress.

While talking with Aysa about all this, at the camp, I could see bruises on her neck. When asked about this, her mother explained that the security officer had “reacted” when he saw her daughter “damaging” a wall with a drawing.

Despite all this, Aysa was strong. It was about survival she said. 

Migrant women are more at risk of violence, not only along the journey but also in the camps, as many have told me.

Safeguarding minimum living standards in the camps, informing migrant women of their rights, giving them comfort and breaking the silence for them to be able to report on violence can make a huge difference.

All migrant women fight for their lives and for their futures.

Now it’s time that we fight for their protection and prove to them that life is more than survival.


Statement on the occasion of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, 18 November


Migrant and refugee children are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. During my fact-finding missions I have seen evidence of this.

In the Council of Europe action plan that I am preparing to protect these children, we will be proposing assistance to the member states on how to combat this phenomenon.

To achieve results we need, of course, the support of European citizens. The European day against sexual exploitation and abuse of children is the occasion for us to join forces to make our continent a safe place for all our children: those who were born here and those who have arrived recently.


Unaccompanied minor refugees: local participation and inclusion - 25 May 2016


Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland announced that Tomáš Boček will be his Special Representative on Migration and Refugees on 26 January 2016

“The ongoing migrant flows are creating unprecedented challenges for European states,” Jagland said.

“Challenges to solidarity, to safety and security and to human rights. Attacks on homes and shelters, the use of excessive force by police at borders, and poor conditions in camps are reported.

“This is why I have appointed Ambassador Tomáš Boček to establish the facts. He is an experienced diplomat and lawyer.”

Boček, who starts his new job on 1 February, said: “My duty will be to coordinate and assist member states in this challenging period. I will also coordinate the Council of Europe’s support and try to identify possible opportunities for more targeted action.”


Tomáš Boček sets priorities as Secretary General’s new Special Representative on Migration and Refugees

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“My first priority is to help member states to face this migrants and refugees crisis, whilst respecting their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights,” says the former Czech Republic Ambassador to the Council of Europe.

“I want to liaise with other international organisations. My main duties will be to collection information, analyse it and then propose, or take action.”

Boček admits that he has taken up his post at a “challenging time.” He also recognises that the media-political attitude towards migrants and refugees arriving in Europe is hardening but remains optimistic for the future.

“Europe is built on common values. We all have the same rights. There are no different levels.”