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All Council of Europe member states should share responsibility for refugees arriving on Europe’s southern shores

Strabourg, 01.06.2011 – All Council of Europe member states have a “moral duty” to share responsibility with frontline Mediterranean states – such as Malta, Italy or Greece – for handling asylum-seekers and refugees arriving on Europe’s southern shores, PACE’s Migration Committee has said.

In a draft resolution adopted today in Corfu, based on a report by Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EDG), the committee said the overall numbers arriving “should not pose an insurmountable problem for Europe as a whole”. They were only a fraction of the numbers that have so far been taken in by North African countries neighbouring Libya, the parliamentarians pointed out.

In a separate report by Arcadio Diaz de Tejera (Spain, SOC), also approved today, the committee expressed its deep concern at some of the measures taken to deal with “boat people” arriving from North Africa. States had a clear moral and legal obligation to save persons in distress, and should rigorously apply international law, the committee pointed out.

The Assembly is to debate both reports during its summer plenary session in Strasbourg (20-24 June 2011).