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Doris Fiala: “Countries in demographic decline refuse to see the advantage of welcoming young refugees”

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, the Chair of PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons made the following statement:

"The world’s refugees deserve our help – yet once again Europe is failing to find a united humanitarian response to the plight of refugees in need.

Acting to eradicate the oppression and violence which forces people to flee their homes is a difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible task. But our member States must continue doing whatever they can to alleviate suffering and seek to reduce numbers of refugees through peace-keeping, development cooperation and wiser management of the planet’s resources. Addressing the root causes of forced migration requires concerted and resolute action.

During their journey, refugees are at the mercy of traffickers, smugglers and desperate conditions. Unfortunately this does not stop when they reach Europe. Once they arrive their basic human rights to protection and dignity must be upheld. As signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights, it is our duty to see to it that families are kept together, children receive special care and that men and women have the chance to create a new life for themselves.

Lessons from history have not been learned. Countries in demographic decline refuse to see the advantage of welcoming and integrating young refugees who will become an asset for future economic development and provide support for an ageing population. Council of Europe member states should also take to heart the good examples from outside the continent, for instance Partner for Democracy Jordan, which is currently hosting over 740 000 refugees for a total population of 9.5 million.

Once again, I call on parliamentarians and governments alike to work together to alleviate this crisis and find sustainable solutions for the future."