A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website], Melissa Fleming, expressed concern over the growing number of migrants arriving in Europe and urged [press release] all EU member states to implement measures agreed on last year to ensure human treatment of all refugees entering their nations. The measures include “hotspot” arrival points, relocation of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Italy and Greece, and to apply the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan. According to Fleming, some countries have tightened their border control to keep refugees out instead of trying to find solutions. Some countries, she said have also created measures with the purpose of appearing less desirable than other countries and some strip refugees of any valuables. The UN is urging European countries to remember that asylum is a fundamental human right and these measures are necessary to reduce the dangers that come from sea voyages or putting their lives in the hands of smugglers.
The issue of migrant rights has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issues around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Earlier this month, the EU Commissioner stated that Turkey must ensure [JURIST report] that fewer refugees enter Greece by keeping more refugees in their country. In November UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly 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. Earlier that month Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] analyzed [JURIST report] the EU’s approach to the refugee crisis and recommended changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued. In October Human Rights Watch (HRW) [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. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in September in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis.