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70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention: what would Europe be like without the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees?

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 15232 | 04 March 2021

Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Duncan BAKER, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Ms Maryna BARDINA, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Larysa BILOZIR, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Jeremy CORBYN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Damien COTTIER, Switzerland, ALDE ; Ms Yolaine de COURSON, France, ALDE ; Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Marta GONZÁLEZ VÁZQUEZ, Spain, EPP/CD ; Lord Leslie GRIFFITHS, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms María Teresa JIMÉNEZ-BECERRIL, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Olena KHOMENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Carmen LEYTE, Spain, EPP/CD ; Mr Dmytro LUBINETS, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Oleksandr MEREZHKO, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Dmytro NATALUKHA, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Yuliia OVCHYNNYKOVA, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Halil ÖZŞAVLI, Turkey, NR ; Mr Serhii SOBOLIEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Rustem UMEROV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Lesia VASYLENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Serap YAŞAR, Turkey, NR ; Mr Ahmet YILDIZ, Turkey, NR ; Ms Lesia ZABURANNA, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD

2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Refugee Convention is an enduring instrument of protection that has assisted millions of refugees over the seven decades of its existence. Climate change and the coronavirus pandemic are just some of the factors that magnify the already significant problems posed by displacement.

Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees of all member States, with 3.6 million people. Around the world, an estimated 30 to 34 million (38-43%) of the 79.5 million forcibly displaced persons are children below 18 years. The number of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people in the world continues to grow.

As of mid-2020, there are 2 218 recognised refugees and persons with additional protection, and about 2 300 asylum seekers living in Ukraine, as well as about 1.5 million IDPs.

The scale and fluidity of refugee displacement in Europe poses significant challenges to asylum and reception systems in many countries. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) advocates for fair and effective asylum systems in Europe to ensure that asylum seekers are able to access asylum and effective protection.

Given the high mission and invaluable contribution of the UNHCR for Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly should host a celebration of this 70th anniversary in 2021 and highlight the role of the Convention and the UNHCR in creating a more just and peaceful world.