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UN Committee on the situation of Syrian migrants

UN Committee on the Protection on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on the situation of Syrian migrants

Millions of people have been forced to migrate from their homeland in search of safe havens abroad due to the on-going war in Syria. While neighbouring States have opened their borders to millions of Syrian migrants, other countries, especially in Europe and elsewhere, notably the Gulf States, should do more to address one of the most tragic mass displacements of people since World War II.

Syrian migrants, pushed to take extreme action in search of secure and decent lives for their families, are literally putting their lives at risk to reach Europe. Hundreds of men, women and children have died while trying to reach safe shores. This is unconscionable in the view of the Committee.

“We are once again shocked and dismayed at the appalling loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea”, Committee Chair Francisco Carrion Mena said following the latest drowning of Syrian migrants off the coast of Turkey this week as the Committee was meeting in Geneva.

The Committee calls on the international community to take immediate action to respond to this humanitarian crisis by protecting the lives and health of these people, be they migrants or asylum-seekers.

It also calls on States to provide more regular channels of migration. “The undeniable flow of migrants towards Europe must be managed in a more ordered and human-rights based fashion, reducing the attraction of smugglers and their promises which often turn into violence, exploitation and death.”

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The Committee additionally urges States to address the root causes of irregular migration. “The drivers of poverty and conflict that push people to take extreme action by crossing seas in search of decent work, peace and decent living conditions are not going to disappear without concerted action by States, including conflict-resolution and peace-building, investments in education, and job opportunities.”

Lastly, the Committee calls on States to recognize the economic and social contributions of migrants and to dispel stereotypes and myths, as well as combat xenophobia and racism against this very vulnerable group of human beings.

“Europeans once fled war and famine and sought opportunities elsewhere. The countries that took these migrants in were enriched by their contributions. Given this background, European and other countries should open their arms and not turn their backs. Inaction will only lead to more lives being lost,” stated the Chair.


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