On 10-11 December 2018, in Marrakech, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees (SRSG) represented the Council of Europe at the UN Intergovernmental Conference, where the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted by more than 160 governments. The Special Representative, in his speech at the plenary session, expressed the will and readiness of the Council of Europe to support practical efforts in the implementation of the objectives of the Compact at the global, regional, national and local level, especially through the Council of Europe Action Plan on refugee and migrant children. In this context he emphasised the need to develop implementation capacity for the existing human rights standards and for the respect of the existing rules.
On 3 December 2018, in Melilla, the Special Representative attended the signature ceremony between the Council of Europe Development bank (CEB) and the Spanish authorities as a concrete follow-up to recommendations in the report from his fact-finding mission to Spain. The CEB is providing the Spanish authorities with € 1.15 million as a contribution to the provision of enhanced healthcare assistance as well as to the faster identification and proper registration of migrants and refugees, through the acquisition of key equipment, the use of new biometric processes, and the appropriate training of personnel.
From 26 to 30 November 2018, the Special Representative conducted a fact-finding mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. He visited reception and detention facilities in Croatia and focused also on the situation at the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited for the second time in 2018, he focused on the situation in the area of Velika Kladusa and Bihac where the majority of migrants were relocated from the tent settlements to shelters, in view of the winter season. Following the visit, he will publish a report setting out his conclusions and recommendations.
On 23 November 2018, in Barcelona, the Special Representative launched a training course for legal professionals on refugee and migrant children, together with the Council of Europe Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP). Some 30 judges, prosecutors and lawyers from various locations in Spain, had gathered for the one-day course covering existing European and international standards and address the critical issues they face in their daily work with migrants and refugees. They course have been adapted to the Spanish legal system and national context. The course is a result of the Special Representative´s recommendation on the need for continued human rights training for legal professionals on asylum-related matters in Spain. The course can be accessed here at the HELP online platform, and is available in English and Spanish. The course has recently been launched in Greece and will be further launched in Italy and Turkey.