UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres referred to the refugee and migrant global crisis by stating that “countries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organizations.” Nonetheless, “this cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality.”
He argues this is against the fundamentals principles and values in which our societies are based and that it can trigger anxiety and even serve as propaganda to the terrorist organizations.
“I am also particularly concerned by the decisions that around the world have been undermining the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. Refugees fleeing conflict and persecution are finding more and more borders closed and increasingly restricted access to the protection they need and are entitled to receive, according to international refugee law.”
This statement came as a response to President Trump Executive order.
Guterres made a particular mention to Ethiopia, the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa which, “for decades has been keeping its borders open to hundreds of thousands of refugees from its neighbors, many times in dramatic security situations.”
Additionally, UNICEF and human right’s experts urged Europe to stop pushing back refugees. During a meeting in Malta, UNICEF called on the EU to “adhere fully to the principle of non-refoulement as sending children back into harm’s way or returning boats to Libya without a proper plan to protect them, would only add to their hardship.”
More so, in a news release, members of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stressed that any engagement these countries make needs to be in line with international human rights standards.
According to the Missing Migrants Project, last year over 7,500 migrants died around the world. This year already 419 deaths have been registered, with 258 being migrants deaths in the Mediterranean.