[JURIST] The UN’s special representative for migration on Tuesday urged countries worldwide to aid in responding to the growing migration crisis in Europe. In his statement, top official in charge of migration Peter Sutherland [official profile] called for a “much more proactive response by the international community,” stressing the need to get specific commitments from every state in regard to refugees. The official also discussed the strain [AFP report] put on those areas closest to the war ravaged countries from which people flee, saying that one’s proximity to a crisis should not determine who takes in refugees but rather that countries across the globe should provide aid and take in refugees. Sutherland emphasized the need for governments to agree to take in their share [BBC report] of refugees rather than sending money for aid as a substitute, calling for fairer distribution of Europe’s refugee burden where only five countries have taken in 72 percent of all refugees.
The rights of migrant populations has emerged as the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. On Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged other EU countries [JURIST report] to assist in accommodating the influx of refugees from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan; saying that the burden cannot fall on just a few countries. Last week, the Hungarian National Assembly [official website] passed a number of emergency measures [JURIST report] to address the recent mass migration into Europe. Earlier this month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged [JURIST report] the global community to develop comprehensive solutions to allow for safe and legal migration after more than 70 bodies, believed to be Syrian asylum seekers, were discovered in a truck near the Austria-Hungary border. On the same day, Ban issued a statement [official document] on the recent increase in refugee and migrant tragedies in the Mediterranean and Europe. Also in August the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants urged the EU to create [JURIST report] a new human-rights-minded migration policy to empower migrants and solve the issue of human smuggling in the Euro-zone. In early August the International Organization for Migration (IOM) [official website] reported that more than 2,000 migrants have died [JURIST report] this year in an attempt to enter Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. The British and French governments warned in a joint article [JURIST report] that the world is facing a “global migration crisis.” The two government officials stressed that countries must make dealing with the increasing number of migrants a top priority.