UN: UNHCR warns European leaders on response to refugee crisis

New York, US (PANA) - European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the ongoing refugee and migration crisis, in what the UN cautioned may be the last chance to create a coherent response to end the suffering and exploitation of refugees and migrants.

"This is a crisis of political will combined with lack of European unity that is resulting in management mayhem," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in a statement on Tuesday.

"When in 1956, 200,000 Hungarians fled to Austria and Yugoslavia, not only were people
properly received, but a relocation programme was quickly put in place and 140,000 people were relocated to other countries.

"What was possible then should be possible now. Wednesday's EU Council meeting is absolutely crucial to overcome Europe’s divisions and create needed political commitment and momentum," he said.

The Office of the UNHCR also urged that the creation of 120,000 additional places for refugees be approved this week. It noted that the refugee relocation programme cannot be implemented properly without adequate reception facilities in countries where refugees are entering Europe.

On average, 6,000 people arrive in Europe each day, and many tens of thousands are likely
to require assistance at any given time.

In addition to the relocation programme, UNHCR has proposed a number of measures to
help Europe resolve the crisis, including strong European support for the immediate
creation of facilities in Greece to receive, assist, register and screen refugees arriving by

It said that similar facilities may also be required in Serbia or other EU countries.

UNHCR called for the commencement of the relocation of 40,000 refugees to participating
EU countries, as previously agreed, to be expanded with voluntary pledges by EU States
for an additional 120,000 places, a figure it noted would likely increase in the future.

UNHCR said that measures were also needed to provide additional humanitarian funding
and structural support to countries hosting refugee populations, including an increase
in opportunities for Syrian refugees to access legal channels to the EU, including
enhanced resettlement and humanitarian admission, family reunification and
humanitarian and student visas.

UNHCR has noted the need to strengthen the mechanisms for the humane return of
people not in need of international protection using the search-and-rescue operation

It however cautioned that only a united European emergency response can address the
present refugee and migration crisis.

The agency noted that Europe can no longer afford to continue with a disjointed approach that creates "chaos and desperation" among thousands of refugees.

"This may be the last opportunity for a coherent European response to manage a crisis
that is increasing suffering and exploitation of refugees and migrants and tension
between countries," the agency stated.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  22Sept2015

22 september 2015 18:34:04

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