UN rights expert urges Europe to manage migrant crisis
UN rights expert urges Europe to manage migrant crisis

[JURIST] An independent UN human rights expert on Wednesday encouraged [press release] EU leaders to remain steadfast in their obligations to handle the recent influx of migrants to the EU and to avoid making Turkey the “gatekeeper.” The remarks from the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, were delivered the day before the EU Migration Summit is scheduled to take place on March 17 and 18. Crépeau argued that increased security and the closure of border access will only lead to a more dangerous situation for migrants, such as an increase in migrant smuggling. Furthermore, Crépeau urged EU leaders to avoid a quick solution to the crisis by “offering regular, safe and cheap mobility solutions, with all the identity and security checks that efficient visa procedures can provide.”

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world. On Tuesday Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged EU leaders to reject a proposed EU Joint Action Plan with Turkey [JURIST report] to handle the influx of migrants due to the “disregard for international law covering the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.” Last week the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressed concerns over a proposed migrant exchange program [JURIST report] between the EU and Turkey, arguing it may violate international law. The Joint Action Plan [text, PDF], was proposed to decrease human smuggling along the shores of southern Europe and to help alleviate the massive influx of refugees hosted by Turkey. The most controversial aspect of the deal is the objective “to resettle, for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from Greek islands, another Syrian from Turkey to the EU Member States.” Grandi said in his speech before the European Parliament “I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law.”