Green MEP demands real progress towards fair EU asylum system on World Refugee Day
Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert has marked World Refugee Day (20th June) by calling on the EU to step up its efforts in developing a humane and fair asylum system which treats those seeking sanctuary with dignity .
Each year on the 20th June, thousands of organisations in hundreds of countries come together to focus global attention not only on the plight of refugees and the causes of their exile, but also on their determination and will to survive and on the contributions they make to their host communities
This year, the UNHCR day aims at promoting tolerance around the world towards refugees. The United Nations estimates that there are currently some 47 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people around the world. In 2010, over 257,000 asylum applications were made in the EU alone.
In October 2011, Jean, an acknowledged expert in the field of asylum and refugee policy, successfully steered a package of amendments to the Qualifications Directive - one of the EU's keystone asylum policies - through the legislative process. The revised Directive now gives greater protection to women seeking refuge from gender related persecution, such as Female Genital Mutilation, forced abortion and rape in situations of conflict or war .
Commenting on World Refugee Day, Jean said:
"Each year, millions of people around the world are forced out of their homes by violence and war. These people, such as the Burmese Rohingyas, do not leave because they want to; they are people forced out of their homes because their life and often the lives of their families have been put in danger due to the ongoing threat of conflict, political persecution and environmental degradation.
"On World Refugee Day, we must take time to remember those affected and take a pledge to intensity our support. In the European Parliament, modest steps are being taken to end the lottery of treatment for asylum applicants, but tens of thousands of the world's most vulnerable people are still denied fair and sensitive treatment when seeking protection in Europe. This is particularly true for women and children, many of whom have suffered from horrendous, unspeakable crimes such as forced abortion and sexual violence. Despite ongoing economic hardship here in the EU, we cannot turn away from those most in need.
"Today more than ever we are reminded of the grave need to step up political action to reduce conflict, protect human rights and protect our planet. We need high quality laws which are in line with international law and court judgements to ensure that people are treated fairly when looking to start a new life safe from crippling fear and anxiety. To fail is to repeat the denial of fundamental rights - the very reason these individuals seek international protection in the first place."
On this year's theme of ‘tolerance', Jean said:
"Asylum seekers are looking for a place of safety, not, as some people would have you believe, a place that would be economically beneficial. Indeed, many refugees live in hope that one day they can return to their homeland, but whilst a variety of reasons often means this is impossible, their contribution to life in the UK is invaluable. From the NHS to the construction industry, from the world of business to the service sector, refugees are an integral part of the very fabric of our society and World Refugee Day is a celebration of that."
Notes to Editor
News type: Press Releases