UNHCR calls for mech­a­nism to share out mi­grant bur­den

Iran Daily - - International -

Out­go­ing UN High Com­mis­sioner Filippo Grandi on Fri­day ap­pealed for the cre­ation of a clear mech­a­nism for Euro­pean states to share out the bur­den of mi­grants res­cued at sea rather than work on a case by case ba­sis.

Those ar­riv­ing “must be shared around Europe. There must be a fore­see­able mech­a­nism. We can­not deal on a boat by boat ba­sis,” the UN refugee chief told a news con­fer­ence af­ter two days of talks with au­thor­i­ties in his na­tive Italy, AFP re­ported.

Italy has closed its ports to NGOS res­cu­ing mi­grants in the Mediter­ranean and has been in­creas­ingly re­luc­tant to take in those brought to shore in its own ves­sels, mak­ing re­cep­tion con­di­tional on those brought to shore be­ing off­loaded to other EU states.

“We are not talk­ing about in­cred­i­ble fig­ures – if Libya can deal with a mil­lion refugees then Europe can man­age a few tens of thou­sands,” Grandi said.

He added that be­tween 80 and 90 per­cent of the es­ti­mated 68 mil­lion refugees glob­ally ac­cord­ing to UNHCR fig­ures were “in poor coun­tries or have few re­sources.”

Grandi added that Europe faced a “long bat­tle” in reach­ing com­mon ground on how to deal with the mi­grant is­sue but should co­op­er­ate in so far as pos­si­ble and use the ex­pected drop in num­bers over the win­ter to draw up a co­her­ent strat­egy.

In the mean­time he added that the pri­or­ity should be en­sur­ing mi­grants reached the “near­est safe port.”

That could not, he stressed, be Libya given that con­di­tions in some re­cep­tion camps there were “abom­inable, un­ac­cept­able.”

Grandi said he was also con­cerned at the lack of res­cue boats of Libya, be they hu­man­i­tar­ian or mil­i­tary which meant not just less peo­ple brought ashore but also “more deaths.”

Grandi fur­ther warned against politi­cians us­ing in­tem­per­ate lan­guage when dis­cussing the mi­grant is­sue, urg­ing that “the lan­guage of pol­i­tics must not cre­ate a space for abuse and vi­o­lence of a racist char­ac­ter.” On Mon­day, new UN rights head Michelle Bachelet an­nounced a new team would be head­ing to Italy to mon­i­tor “a sig­naled strong in­crease” in racist vi­o­lence, some­thing which Italy’s far right In­te­rior Min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini de­nied.

Salvini said that Italy had in re­cent years ac­cepted 700,000 im­mi­grants, “in­clud­ing many il­le­gals, and never got any help from other Euro­pean coun­tries.”


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