UN calls for better protection of refugees in the EU and globally

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Syrian man carrying a baby along the highway with other refugees, several kilometres after leaving Budapest. Photo: UNHCR/Mark Henley

Refugees need to be better protected in the European Union (EU) and globally, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has urged.

In a paper presented on Monday, the agency also called for a "far-reaching" reform of Europe's global engagement with refugees.

Over one million refugees and migrants reached Europe by sea in 2015 while close to 4,000 did not survive the perilous journey. Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Many countries in Europe were caught unprepared by the huge arrivals of refugees and migrants last year and chaos prevailed, according to UNHCR.

It said the capacity of EU Member States and the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was severely tested.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi observed that "Europe failed to implement a collective and managed response to the challenge posed by the arrival of over a million refugees and migrants."

Some countries took measures to restrict access of refugees and migrants to their territories, while others made efforts to welcome them.

The EU needs a "bold, imaginative and workable" approach to overcome fragmentation and manage refugee movements effectively in line with international law, UNHCR said.

Increased pathways for refugees to Europe and a simplified asylum system to identify, register and process arrivals swiftly and efficiently are some of the recommendations the agency makes.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.


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