[JURIST] In a statement [text] Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed “concerned [over] the decisions that around the world have been undermining the integrity of the international refugee protection regime.” While he acknowledged that “[c]ountries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organizations,” he stated that those legitimate concerns should not be a cover for prejudice and discrimination. Highlighting Ethiopia as a country that has opened its borders to refugees in distress, he contended that when nations use discrimination as a form of foreign policy are ineffective and “triggers” of anxiety and propaganda.
The rights of refugee and migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issues around the world. Last week the Slovenian parliament passed amendments to the Aliens Act [JURIST report] to enact emergency measures to deny refugees entry into the country and to expel those whom did not have their asylum claims properly assessed. Also last week, US President Donald Trump issued [JURIST report] an executive order restricting access to the US for refugees and visa holders from seven countries. The order also indefinitely suspends the entry into the US of Syrian refugees. The order further suspended admission of refugees from any country for 120 days while the administration is reviewing the visa program and limited the number of possible refugees for 2017 to 50,000. In November experts questioned humanitarian conditions at Grecian migrant camps when a 66-year-old woman and six-year-old boy died [JURIST report] in a camp fire. In April several aid organizations urged [JURIST report] EU leaders to stop deportations of migrants from Greece to Turkey and to stop detaining asylum seekers. Also in April Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] that the first deportation of 66 people from the Greek island of Chios to Turkey was “riddled with an array of irregularities.” In April former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged [JURIST report] world leaders to accept more refugees and to combat the growing international anti-refugee sentiments. That same month, an independent UN human rights expert encouraged EU leaders to remain steadfast [JURIST report] in their obligations to handle the recent influx of migrants to the EU.