Special Representative on Migration and Refugees
© Council of Europe
Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees
In January 2016, Tomáš Boček was appointed Special Representative on Migration and Refugees of Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland. His mandate is to gather information on how the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees are protected on the ground in the member States, and to develop proposals for action at national and European level. He also liaises with international partners, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration, UNICEF, the EU and FRONTEX.
One of his priorities is to improve the situation of the high number of refugee and migrant children currently in Europe. He has prepared a Council of Europe Action Plan (2017-2019) to this effect. It was approved by the Committee of Minsters 19 May 2017 and the Special Representative is now coordinating its implementation. He has also undertaken fact-finding missions to hotspots, camps and detention centres in several member States.
A lawyer by training and a career diplomat, Tomáš Boček studied at the University of Pilsen and has a degree in public international law from Paris I University – Panthéon Sorbonne. From 2004 to 2008, he was the Agent of the Czech Republic before the European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg. In 2007 and 2008, he was also Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs and, from 2008 to 2009, Deputy Minister for International Relations and European Affairs at the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic. From 2010 until the end of January 2016, he was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the Council of Europe.
Ensuring implementation of relevant commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), whilst managing overwhelming numbers of refugees and migrants, represents today a significant challenge for all member States of the Council of Europe.
Several bodies of the Council of Europe have already been mobilised to provide assistance and support to the member States concerned. However, we are experiencing unpredictable developments, notably sudden concentrations of high numbers of refugees and migrants in certain locations, which seriously threaten their well-being and rights under the ECHR.
Against this background, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe appointed Ambassador Tomáš Boček as his Special Representative on Migration and Refugees. Mr Boček is responsible for gathering information on the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees in Europe, including through fact-finding missions, and making proposals for action.
He will seek to strengthen coordination of the relevant activities within the Council of Europe and to develop effective communication and coordination with international partners such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration, UNICEF, the EU and FRONTEX. One of his key priorities is the protection of migrant and refugee children.
The Special Representative took up his duties on 1st February 2016.