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World Refugee Day: as parliamentarians, our duty is to protect all those seeking refuge in Europe

Theodoros Rousopoulos (Greece, EPP/CD)

Theodoros Rousopoulos (Greece, EPP/CD), Chair of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, has made the following statement to mark World Refugee Day (20 June 2022):

“2022 has seen the largest displacement of persons in Europe since the Second World War. Several million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have fled the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. The immense humanitarian solidarity and hospitality shown by member States of the Council of Europe and the European Union, local authorities, humanitarian organisations and civil society - including thousands of people across Europe - are an outstanding benchmark of humanity in the face of a brutal, senseless and infernal war.

This tragedy should not make us forget the other calamities forcing people across the world to flee their homes. We, the parliamentarians of Europe, must ensure that all persons fleeing war, violence or persecution and seeking refuge in Europe receive international protection, irrespective of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Parliaments must ensure that their national legislation is in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights, the 1951 Refugee Convention and other international obligations binding on our member States, as the Assembly underscored in a 2021 resolution. Even more so, parliaments must take the lead in promoting and delivering targeted humanitarian assistance to those in need.

We cannot look away from aggression, violence, human suffering, or the natural disasters stemming from climate change, which lead to the forced displacement of so many people in Europe and on other continents. Refugees must not become victims of the brutal power struggles of political leaders. On behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, I pay tribute to all refugees on World Refugee Day 2022.”