A high-level proposal to reduce western obligations to refugees risks the destruction of “a milestone of humanity” and would “renounce millennia” of human progress, two senior UN officials have said in separate interviews.
The comments are in response to the Danish prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who said last week that he wanted to “change the rules of the game” by rolling back the 1951 refugee convention, the UN treaty signed in Geneva in the aftermath of the second world war that obliges its signatories to offer asylum to people fleeing danger.
Rasmussen mooted changing the treaty so that refugees can be sent back to transit countries such as Turkey, the springboard for most Syrian and Afghan refugees who attempt to reach Europe. Under the terms of the convention, refugees cannot be returned to Turkey because it does not recognise the rights of refugees from the Middle East.
With more than a million asylum seekers reaching Europe by sea last year, and with no legislative means of rejecting many of their applications, Rasmussen now wants to scale back Europe’s obligation to provide them with sanctuary.
Crépeau said: “If we decided collectively as global north countries – the 28 EU countries plus US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, representing 900 million inhabitants – that we would resettle 4 million Syrians over the next eight years at 500,000 per year, [which is] half the number that Germany has received this year … divided between the 32 countries, it would be very small. For the UK it would be around 35,000. It’s a very manageable number.”
If not, Crépeau warns that people will come anyway. “As long as Europeans are not able to sit down and agree such a programme, well it’ll [continue to] be chaos on the beaches … It’s shooting oneself in the foot because there will be another 1 million more people coming this year. If people are coming in the winter when it’s cold, imagine the rate in the summer.”
He added: “It’s going to continue. It’s not going to stop.”
Pour lire l'article en entier : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/06/un-backlash-against-call-to-scale-back-geneva-convention-on-refugees