Refugees in Europe - Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General (8 September 2015)
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Secretary-General’s telephone calls on refugees in Europe
The Secretary-General has spoken to the Heads of Government of the Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to discuss the arrival of refugees and migrants in Europe.
Recognising the challenges this poses to some Member States, the Secretary-General stressed the individual and collective responsibility of European states to respond responsibly and humanely. He stressed that the large majority of people arriving in Europe are refugees fleeing war and violence, who have a right to seek asylum without any form of discrimination. Commending the efforts of many European leaders, he encouraged the European Union countries to live up to their obligations and the standards they have set. He underlined the need for compassion and global solidarity, and applauded the inspiring examples that have been displayed all over Europe by private citizens and civil society.
The Secretary-General appealed to these leaders to be the voice of those in need of protection and to quickly find a joint approach to address their basic needs. As European leaders, their stand against increasing xenophobia, discrimination, and violence against migrants and refugees in Europe is particularly important. He hoped that any manifestation of these phenomena would be addressed firmly and without delay.
The Secretary-General assured European leaders of the United Nations readiness, through its agencies, in particular UNHCR, to continue supporting their efforts to develop a response that is effective, feasible and in line with universal human rights and humanitarian standards, including the right to claim asylum.
With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals later this month, the Secretary-General invited leaders to a high-level meeting on migration and refugees in New York on 30 September.