June 30, 2019

Helsinki Committee: Support for the refugees in their fight for survival

On the World Refugee Day, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights wants to remind about the situation with the refugee crises in our country. Last year’s events lead to the conclusion that, considering the increased use of irregular routes by migrants and refugees, the refugee crisis cannot be considered as being over. On the other hand, as stated in the Annual Report of the Committee for 2018, the official number of refugees and migrants staying in the camps was relatively low.

With regard to the actions taken by the relevant institutions, improvement has been noted as compared to previous years, especially in terms of uncovering and prosecuting smuggling groups. However, there were instances when relevant institutions continued with the established practices contrary to the human rights principles and standards stipulated in international documents. We believe that humanitarian aid and safety risk protection must be provided to all refugees and migrants in order to prevent their exposure to additional risks. Migrants and refugees transiting through the country must not have their freedom of movement limited, nor be unlawfully detained as witnesses in criminal proceedings against smugglers.

Although the refugee crisis is a complex political issue facing the entire world, what remains for the country to do is to continue building its capacities for uninterrupted guaranteeing and enjoyment of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of all people on its territory, regardless of where they are coming from and where they are going. The Committee recommends abandonment of the practice of illegal group “deportation” of refugees and migrants to the neighboring countries without established cross-border cooperation with the security services.

The Helsinki Committee believes that measures must be taken to influence the public opinion about the refugee crisis, considering the high level of xenophobia noted among the citizens.

Although not as pronounced as in previous years, calls for violence, insults and xenophobic speech against refugees and migrants are still present in the public.