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Commissioner will publish recommendations on family reunification

On the occasion of Mother's Day on 12 May 2017, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published a statement in which he stressed that we should not forget all refugee mothers who remain separated from members of their families. He made an appeal for the right to family life of refugees and persons with a subsidiary protection status to be better protected. And he called for the review of a host of restrictive measures adopted by several European countries which made family reunification more difficult, causing immense hardship for both refugees in Europe, and their families who are left behind. Finally, the Commissioner announced the publication in June of an extensive set of recommendations aimed at helping governments adopt a more humane and human-rights oriented policy on family reunification.

On 30 May the Commissioner published his preliminary observations following a visit to Switzerland which took place from 22 to 24 May, in which he welcomed a series of improvements to the status-determination procedure that will be brought about by the new asylum law: free legal aid from the beginning; and faster and higher-quality procedures. At the same time, the Commissioner stressed the need for progress to be made in respect of a number of other migration-related issues. He called on the Swiss authorities to stop depriving of their liberty migrant children who arrive at the country’s international airports; it was clear that children, with or without their families, did not belong to places of detention. Commissioner Muižnieks also drew attention to the precarious situation of many migrants, including Syrians, who are under a provisional-admission regime – thus being deprived of many of the rights associated with refugee status. He also pointed to the need to improve the process for identifying the most vulnerable migrants, including asylum seekers and the way these were protected. He also stressed the need to adopt a gender- and child-sensitive approach when taking any kind of decisions and measures in the field of migration and asylum.