[JURIST] United Nations (UN) [official website] Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] addressed [statement; press release] the UN General Assembly on Friday and cautioned the international community to avoid discrimination against Muslims, especially refugees and migrants entering Europe, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a week earlier. Ki-moon stated that 60 million people have been forced from their homes because of violence and conflict in countries such as Syria and Iraq. The recent migration crisis [BBC backgrounder] has forced many European countries to re-evaluate their immigration policies. The level of attention paid to immigration policies in Europe will likely increase after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Ki-moon said: “In the wake of the terrorist attacks, I am deeply concerned about misplaced suspicions about migrants and refugees, especially those who are Muslim. We must be on guard against such distortions and discrimination, which only play into the hands of terrorists trying to sow divisions and fear. We must respond not by closing doors but by opening our hearts with unity, tolerance, and pluralism and compassion. This will foster true security.”
The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. On Thursday, JURIST Guest Columnist Larry Eaker, former Professor at the American University of Paris, published an article that discusses the challenges facing the European Union’s (EU) Immigration and Asylum Policy [JURIST op-ed] due to an unprecedented influx of refugees. Earlier last week, Amnesty International [advocacy website] released a document [JURIST report] that analyzes the EU’s approach to the refugee crisis and recommends changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued. In October Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called on [JURIST report] the EU and Western Balkans states to focus on remedying what it characterized as deplorable conditions for asylum-seekers in Europe. In September the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. In his statement, he commended the efforts of ordinary citizens in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK who have opened their homes to refugees and have galvanized politically to help with the crisis. Also in September Germany announced that it was invoking temporary border controls [JURIST report] at the nation’s southern border with Austria, after thousands of immigrants entered the country.