World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Asylum Seekers Subject To Systematic Pushbacks At Europe’s Borders, Says UNHCR

UN refugee agency, UNHCR, called on Thursday for an end to “systematic” expulsions and pushbacks of refugees and asylum-seekers at Europe’s land and sea borders.

Amid “continuous” reports that some European States are restricting access to asylum, UNHCR urged governments to investigate and end the illegal practice.

Unnamed States had returned people “after they have reached territory or territorial waters (and used) violence against them at borders”, said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs.

Boats towed back to sea

“Boats carrying refugees are being towed back, people are being rounded-up after they land and then pushed back to sea,” she said, alleging further that people’s international protection needs were being ignored systematically.

Those arriving by land were also being informally detained and then forcibly returned to neighbouring countries without any consideration of their international protection needs, the UNHCR official added in a statement.

‘Illegal’ practice

“While countries have the legitimate right to manage their borders in accordance with international law, they must also respect human rights. Pushbacks are simply illegal,” Ms. Triggs added, noting with regret that the issue of asylum remained so politicized and divisive despite falling numbers of arrivals.

According to UNHCR, arrivals to the European Union continue to decrease year on year. In 2020, 95,000 reached EU States by sea and land, a 23 per cent decrease since 2019 (from 123,700) and a 33 per cent compared with 2018 (141,500).

Independent monitoring

“We advocate for national independent monitoring mechanisms to be set up to ensure access to asylum, to prevent rights violations at borders, and to ensure accountability. Independent monitoring is also proposed by the EU Pact and we urge EU Member States to support this”, said Triggs.

In line with the 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law, States are required to protect the right of people to seek asylum and protection from refoulement, even if they enter irregularly.

authorities cannot automatically deny entry to or return people without undertaking an individual assessment of those in need of protection, UNHCR explained.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

UN Report: Civilian Casualties Surged After Peace Talks Began In Afghanistan

Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>

WeBeliev: Scoop In Conversation With Abhishek Sinha, Founder Of WeBeliev, An NZ Crowdfunding Platform

WeBeliev supports 17 SDGs, launching sector specific campaigns every month Q. What is WeBeliev and why did you start it? A. WeBeliev is a Singapore-registered crowdfunding platform aimed at fundraising for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ... More>>