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International Migrants Day: PACE committee head calls for upholding rights of migrants and the rule of law, and expresses concerns over 2012 Olympics

Strasbourg 16.12.2011 – In a statement to mark International Migrants Day (18 December), the Chair of the Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has reaffirmed the importance of upholding both the rights of migrants and the rule of law.

Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EDG) said: “Trafficking and irregular migration have given all migrants a bad name, which has meant the weak and innocent lose out. This unfortunately translates into an over-reliance on detention of migrants and asylum seekers.”

He added: “It is necessary to recognise the sovereign right of states to control their borders. Detention is not the only answer, and more use should be made of alternatives to detention, where appropriate. It is particularly important to tackle traffickers and those engaged in people-smuggling, including for the sex trade.”

Mr Chope continued: “In 2012 London will be hosting the Olympic Games. This presents a golden opportunity to get tough with people-traffickers and those engaged in the illicit smuggling of people for the sex trade. It defies belief that the authorities are planning for increased prostitution as a consequence of the Games, instead of using the event as an opportunity to crack down heavily on those engaged in this evil trade.”