New York

21 September 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation facing refugees and migrants in Europe

The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation facing refugees and migrants arriving across Europe. He recalls that many are fleeing persecution, conflict and human rights abuses and have endured arduous journeys in order to reach safety.

He calls on all European States to ensure that they abide by their international obligations, including the right to seek asylum, and the prohibition of refoulement. All persons must be received with dignity and their human rights must be respected. The Secretary-General has followed with increasing concern the closing of some borders in Europe, as well as the lack of proper reception facilities as well as the increased use of detention and criminalization of irregular migrants and asylum seekers.

The Secretary-General has called on European leaders to express his concerns, and to encourage them to ensure the proper treatment of refugees and migrants. As EU Ministers gather on Tuesday, and an emergency EU Summit is scheduled for Wednesday.  The Secretary-General appeals to all EU leaders to show leadership and compassion. He calls on them to forge a common approach which is in line with their international obligations and honours the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter.

The Secretary-General looks forward to receiving EU Leaders at the 70th United Nations General Assembly. He has invited Member States to a special meeting on 30 September to discuss the challenges of increased movements of migrants and refugees in the world.