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We need more than a humanitarian response from Europe

Joint statement
Strasbourg 09/03/2016
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We need more than a humanitarian response from Europe

On the occasion of International Women’s Day Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized the protection needs of refugee women and girls arriving in Southern Europe.

This year, to date, UNHCR estimates that 138,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Southern Europe – nearly two-thirds are women and children.

Warning that women and girls, especially those travelling alone, face particularly high risk of certain forms of violence, including sexual violence by smugglers, criminal groups and individuals in countries along the migration route, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees agreed during their meeting today, 08 March, in Strasbourg “we need more than a humanitarian response from Europe”.

They continue to call on States to increase legal pathways for the admission of refugees to Europe, so that they do not have to resort to people smugglers and dangerous journeys. These legal pathways include resettlement, humanitarian admission, private sponsorship and refugee-friendly family reunion, as well as student scholarships and mobility schemes.