United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern regarding the ever-tightening restrictions on migrants and refugees in Europe. Ki-moon is the first United Nations official to speak out regarding the continued refugee crisis and the need for European support. He is insisting that the continued tightening of rules for asylum across Europe is sending the wrong message, urging countries not to allow xenophobia to be a source of these restrictions.
Ki-moon spoke to the Austrian parliament on Thursday, April 28, 2016, addressing new asylum rules passed by European lawmakers along with plans to fence the border between Austria and Italy. Ki-moon made a point of expressing concern that these actions are sending a negative message regarding the obligations of countries within the United Nations international humanitarian law. Ki-moon invited European leaders to have an open in discussion in Europe concerning the international European law, continuing to urge European Union leaders to live up to the humanitarian principles designed to support refugees.
Austria has primarily become a conduit for refugees from the Middle East and Africa to pass through and make their way to Germany, however, the country has also taken in approximately 100,000 refugees. Initially, the country welcomed refugees, however, the government has recently created a cap of 37,000 asylum claims for this year, having already received 16,000. The United Nations is also concerned with rules allowing a country to turn away asylum seekers at the border if deemed a threat. Additionally, Vienna continues to coordinate border closures with Balkan countries to prevent access into Italy.
By Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Reuters: U.N Chief urges European leaders to support refugees
BBC: Migrant Crisis: UN’s Ban Ki-Moon condemns EU migrant curbs
Wikimedia Photo Courtesy of Gemes Sandor/Szomszed – Creative Commons License