New York

24 November 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation of refugees and migrants in the Balkan States

The Secretary-General expresses his serious concerns on the recent border restrictions imposed by a number of States in the Balkans.  Profiling asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard.

The Secretary-General calls on all States in the region to respond effectively to the mounting humanitarian challenges and to ensure that their policies on screening asylum seekers are in line with international refugee and human rights law. He urges European governments to significantly improve their capacities for reception and to speed up implementation of the relocation programmes for refugees.  He recalls that collective expulsion and refoulement are strictly prohibited under international law.

The Secretary-General further reiterates his call on all States in the region to respond with compassion, solidarity and shared responsibility, and notes that the current situation highlights the urgent need for coordinated border management.