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EU Pact on Migration and Asylum: a renewed opportunity to uphold human rights in migration governance

Council of Europe Strasbourg 23 september 2020
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EU Pact on Migration and Asylum: a renewed opportunity to uphold human rights in migration governance

The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees of the Council of Europe and the Regional Representative for Europe of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) have welcomed the presentation by the European Commission of its new Pact on Migration and Asylum. The launch of the Pact offers an opportunity for the EU to find common ground on achieving more effective migration governance in Europe, based on the respect and protection of human rights.

“The Pact offers an opportunity for more effective migration governance in Europe based on a commitment to human rights and respect for the dignity of migrants.” said Drahoslav Štefánek, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees. He underlined the heightened duty of care of States towards migrants in vulnerable situations, such as unaccompanied children. “We welcome that the Pact addresses this question” – he added.

Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe at the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) stated that “Commission President Ursula von der Leyen clearly expressed the EU’s commitment to a global rules-based order. The Pact is a unique opportunity to lead by example. Migration policies are only sustainable if they are rooted in human rights and carried out in accordance with international and regional standards. This includes the prohibition of arbitrary detention and collective expulsions, such as pushbacks. It also means guaranteeing due process, respecting the principle of non-refoulement, and making sure that forced expulsions are safe and dignified. We welcome that the Pact proposes an independent monitoring mechanism to ensure respect for human rights". They expressed their readiness to cooperate with the EU and its member States for a human rights approach to the implementation of the Pact and offered their expertise within their respective mandates to this endeavour.


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