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Protecting borders is compatible with the upholding of humanitarian law

The right and obligation to protect national and EU external borders is not incompatible with the commitment to uphold international humanitarian law, the Assembly said today. Regrettably, the parliamentarians said, “dysfunctional status determination procedures do not allow for quick distinctions between people in real need of international protection and irregular migrants”.

Adopting a resolution based the report prepared by Ian Liddell-Grainger (United Kingdom, EC), the Assembly said “it is of crucial importance to strengthen the existing legal and policy framework at the national and European level with a view to ensuring efficiency of the asylum system”. It said the EU member States and institutions should explore “possibilities for better identifying people in need of international protection and organising external processing of asylum applications”.

The parliamentarians called on member States "to engage in a meaningful dialogue" involving the UNHCR and other international stakeholders on the interpretation of legal provisions of the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, including the criteria for qualifying for status, as well as on the issue of definition of a third safe country.

Governments, they said, should step up efforts to find a constructive solution concerning more negotiated responsibility sharing with a view to fully implementing the European Council’s decisions of July 2015 with regard to relocation and resettlement of refugees, the resolution underlines. They should also explore possibilities for increasing legal channels for migration, including enhanced resettlement and admission for humanitarian reasons, as well as family reunification with a view to putting a halt to illegal migration, as well as reflect on the emerging challenges faced by integration policies, including threats for security and radicalisation, the text concludes.