On 2 February 2017 the Commissioner published an article in the Huffington Post, in view of the European Council's meeting in Malta focusing on migration, in which he stressed that states’ obligations to uphold the human rights of migrants should be given a prominent place in the Malta discussions. Recalling the plight of migrants at the Mediterranean and across Europe, the Commissioner denounced the measures taken by some European countries which have made it harder for people to cross borders and seek and enjoy asylum in Europe. He called for a paradigm shift of European immigration and asylum policies suggesting a course of action that states must take in order to prevent EU decisions and money from contributing to violations of the human rights of migrants by third countries.
On 6 February 2017 the Commissioner published a statement on Facebook in which he expressed his concern about the deliberation in Luxembourg of a draft law (Bill No. 6992 on the free movement of persons and immigration and on the holding centre) which considered extending the maximum period for the detention of migrant children and their families to seven days. Drawing the authorities’ attention to all the negative impacts on refugees and migrants, including children, of deprivation of liberty, the Commissioner expressed his conviction that the Luxembourg authorities would be able to come up with alternative solutions to controlling immigration which respect the dignity and rights of migrant children.
During his mission to Kosovo*, from 5 to 9 February 2017, the Commissioner addressed the human rights of persons forcibly displaced due to the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict, and had exchanges with the displaced persons he visited in various locations, belonging to all communities. He was appalled by the dire living conditions in the collective centre “Samacki dom”, in northern Mitrovica, one of the 29 remaining collective centres in Kosovo, where about 50 persons are accommodated. The Commissioner called for urgent closure of all collective centres and creating adequate and safe conditions for sustainable return and integration of persons displaced by the conflict. Following the mission, the Commissioner published his preliminary observations that are available here.
* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.