Protesters against the the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Berlin. Russian aggression has caused the displacement of more than half of the Ukrainian population /Photo: Femi Awoniyi

World Refugee Day: EU maintains its focus on protecting the vulnerable

Each year on 20 June, the world marks World Refugee Day, to draw attention to the plight of millions of people who have been forced to flee war, violence and persecution and to the international obligations under the United Nations 1951 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Refugees.

In the face of the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, triggered by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, host countries’ authorities, including regional and local ones, civil society and individuals have demonstrated how rapid collective responses are the key to effectively supporting refugees.

At the same time, human tragedies are a stark reminder of the need to respect the human rights of migrants and refugees in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe proposes targeted measures and activities to enhance the capacity of member states to identify and address vulnerabilities throughout asylum and migration procedures.

In close co-operation with our member states, international partners, including UNHCR, IOM and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), as well as civil society, we continue to draw attention to the protection of human rights of those who are in vulnerable situations and the need to provide safeguards for them, in particular to unaccompanied and separated children and to possible victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

In this context, the Council of Europe and FRA will soon publish a joint note addressing the fundamental rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrant children at European borders.

To pay tribute to refugees everywhere and in partnership with UNHCR, the Council of Europe (Les Mercredis du Conseil de l’Europe) has produced a video: World Refugee Day.

© Council of Europe 2023

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