UN expert launches follow-up visit to assess impact on human rights

Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, on Thursday met at the Foreign Ministry with the UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau. During the meeting Mr. Crépeau expressed his admiration for the charitable stance of Greeks on receiving thousands of refugees since the beginning of the refugee crisis.

The discussion focused on the refugee and migration issue, in light of developments in the unstable geopolitical environment of the wider region of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Reference was made to the EU-Turkey agreement and issues arising from its implementation. The collocutors highlighted that, to substantially protect the rights of the thousands of people fleeing the persecution of war, knowledge and understanding of the special political and social conditions of the countries receiving and hosting refugees is needed in order to optimize the solutions that are being proposed and implemented.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, is visiting Greece between May 12-16 to gather information on the complex management of the Greek border, and its impact on the human rights of migrants.

“In 2015, over one million migrants arrived in Greece; its proximity to Turkey makes it a key point of entry for many migrants seeking to reach Europe,” Mr. Crépeau said. “This visit will allow me to follow up on my 2013 and 2015 reports on the management of the external borders of the European Union, which took me to Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Malta and the EU institutions in Brussels and Vienna.”

“Territorial sovereignty is about controlling the border, knowing who comes in and who leaves. It has never been about sealing the border to migration,” the expert reiterated. “Democratic borders are porous by nature. Providing migrants and asylum seekers with legal and safe mobility solutions will ensure such a control.”

During his five-day visit to Greece, the human rights expert will meet with a range of Government officials, international organisations, civil society organisations, migrant organisations, and migrants themselves.  The Special Rapporteur’s study will result in a follow-up country mission report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

SOURCE: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece / UNHCR
PHOTO: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece flickr