“The Council of Europe should assist the Turkish authorities to develop effective policies to prevent refugee and migrant children working and to encourage their attendance at school”, says the Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees Ambassador Tomáš Boček in a report published in August. His comments followed the fact-finding mission he carried out on 30 May – 4 June to Istanbul, Eastern Thrace, the border with Syria, Ankara and the Aegean coast. The SRSG also called for the Council of Europe to work with the Turkish authorities to help improve the precarious living conditions of the millions of refugees outside camps, in particular by making it easier for those of working-age to access the labour market. While acknowledging, the significant efforts made by the Turkish authorities to accommodate the world’s largest refugee population, the SRSG’s report underlines that there is room for Council of Europe support to enable Turkey to continue managing the refugee situation in compliance with the human rights standards of the Organisation.
On 11-12 July, the Secretary General´s Special Representative on migration and refugees visited Athens to discuss with the national authorities a series of recommendations he had made in a report published in May following his fact-finding mission to Greece and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in March. The SRSG discussed with the Minister for Labour, the Alternate Ministers for Migration and Social Solidarity, the Mayor of Athens, the General Secretary for Human Rights and other Ministry of Justice officials, as well as a representative of the association of administrative-court judges, a number of proposals about the assistance the Council of Europe can provide to those involved in the asylum-determination procedure and the examination of related appeals, the drafting of a bill on unaccompanied minors, child protection and refugee reception and integration at the local level.
The SRSG will carry out additional fact-finding missions in the autumn.