Doris Fiala: ‘NGOs which assist migrants and refugees should be supported by member States’

“On World NGO Day, we must recognise with gratitude the work done by so many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) which assist migrants and refugees,” said Doris Fiala, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugee and Displaced Persons which is currently preparing a report on rights and obligations of NGOs assisting refugees and migrants in Europe.

She emphasised: “NGOs must have the freedom to do their work and should be supported by member States. Restricting NGO action would be failing from a legal and humanitarian view point. NGOs are immensely helpful in providing humanitarian assistance to huge numbers of migrants and refugees every day. UNHCR alone works with some 900 partner organisations globally, mostly NGOs, and the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe is active in this area.”

“Although the figures of the 2015-16 crisis in Europe have decreased, there are still more than 3.6 million Syrians under international protection in Turkey. Germany received 185 853 asylum applications in 2018, when 60 643 persons arrived across the Mediterranean Sea in Spain, 45 737 in Greece and 23 037 in Italy. Without the help of numerous NGOs and their volunteer staff, member States would not be able to cope with the humanitarian challenges,” Ms Fiala concluded.