World Refugee Day: It is vital to create safe legal channels to Europe, says PACE President

“World Refugee Day, on 20 June, is an occasion to reflect and act” said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “Conflicts continue to rage across the globe, not just in far-away spots but within Europe, bringing flows of asylums seekers, refugees and displaced persons. Europe must not turn its borders into the high walls of a fortress for these people who are risking their lives and dignity in seeking international protection.

We have an obligation under international law to provide protection to these persons, not only when they arrive in our countries, but also in the journeys they take to flee persecution.

Each person who has faced persecution, survived it and escaped it is a hero. Their courage should be recognised and not criminalised.

On World Refugee Day, I urge Council of Europe member states to face their responsibilities towards human beings who are in dire need of protection, and reception and show solidarity with countries facing the brunt of refugee, asylum and other displacement flows.

Creating safe legal channels to Europe or other countries through resettlement, relocation or by way of humanitarian visas is vital. I hope that member states will be able to work together to provide collective and comprehensive solutions for protecting, welcoming, assisting and empowering those who have fled their homes, so that we can all hope for a better tomorrow,” concluded Ms Brasseur.