Protecting refugees and assuring the safety of countries that receive them are complementary goals, a senior United Nations official today said in a special security forum that discussed denying safe havens to people who finance or commit terrorist acts, or to terrorists who try to abuse the asylum system.
“Our collective experience gained over many years has taught us that security and protection need to go hand in hand – one is not possible without the other,” Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), told the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in New York.
There are some 21.7 million refugees around the world, some of whom are in Europe or trying to seek refuge there. While many have been welcomed with compassion, Mr. Türk said, others have faced national measures such as push-backs at borders, detention, and restricting access.
“The impact of such measures is simply the diversion of refugee movements along with other routes and the aggravation of already precarious situations in regions embroiled in conflict,” said Mr. Türk, noting the threat from smugglers and trafficking, xenophobia and violence.
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