Council of Europe and UNHCR: everyone fleeing war or persecution has the right to seek safety and protection

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, 20 June 2022, the Council of Europe and UNHCR underline that anyone fleeing war, conflict or persecution or at risk of violence, abuse or exploitation, a right to seek security and protection.

Nearly four months after the start of the war in Ukraine, millions of refugees have crossed borders and many more have been internally displaced. The global number of displaced people has reached an all-time high, with more than 100 million people forcibly displaced, as shown in UNHCR’s 2021 Global Trends.

“Human rights are essential for security and protection. Council of Europe standards apply to everyone in need, with particular attention to the rights of people in vulnerable situations, such as migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls, unaccompanied and separated children, and the elderly,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Migration and Refugees, Leyla Kayacik (SRSG).

The Council of Europe Action Plan on the protection of vulnerable persons in the context of migration and asylum in Europe (2021-2025) notably proposes targeted measures and activities to strengthen the capacity of member States to identify and address vulnerabilities throughout asylum and migration procedures.

“Everyone has the right to seek safety and to have access to human rights, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee. Together with the Council of Europe and its Member States, UNHCR continues to work to safeguard the rights of forcibly displaced persons,” said Andreas Wissner, UNHCR Representative to the European Institutions in Strasbourg.

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