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COVID-19: Refugees are in a vicious circle that make them particularly vulnerable

"The special session of the UN Security Council on 9 April rightfully emphasised the severe repercussions of the Covid 19 pandemic on civilian populations in conflict zones. Internally displaced persons and refugees are in a vicious circle of being forced to leave their homes and take shelter in camps which are often poor and vercrowded, both of which are factors that make them particularly vulnerable to the pandemic," Fabien Gouttefarde (France, ALDE), rapporteur on the protection of victims of forced displacement under international law, said.

"In addition, international humanitarian assistance by the United Nations and NGOs is frequently interrupted worldwide due to closed borders under anti-pandemic measures. Even media reports about human rights violations in conflict zones are hindered. In these extreme circumstances, it is vital to recognise the fundamental rights of forcibly displaced persons and to immediately stop any action which causes more displacement of persons or a continuation of their forced displacement."

"As the UN Secretary General stated clearly, war lords, mercenaries and terrorists are trying to take advantage of the fact that states are paralysed by the pandemic. Therefore, it is important to strongly recall that international law cannot be compromised by a pandemic and those who seek to benefit from it. As national parliamentarians, we must do all we can to hold those legally and politically responsible who forcibly displace persons - in Europe and abroad."