UNHCR Human Rights: pandemic worsens human rights situation

Human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic – High-level panel discussion

UNHCR Human Rights: pandemic worsens human rights situation

COVID-19 and the closure of state borders have seriously worsened the situation of about 3 million migrants

There are about 272 million migrants in the world. Slightly less than half of them are women. The UN considers anyone who changes their country of residence to be a migrant, regardless of the reason. Most migrants leave their homes for economic reasons. About 3 million migrants find themselves stranded by restrictions caused by COVID-19 and border closures, according to UN data.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes that the human rights situation has deteriorated. Existing problems, inequality and marginalization have only worsened.

“There are three main challenges that need to be identified: the first is access to services and prevention of COVID-19 in some countries. When a person is undocumented, they are often afraid to access the services they need because they do not know if they will be found, detained and possibly deported. The second issue directly related to COVID-19 is human rights and border controls. We urged governments to consider ending forced deportations during a pandemic and consider other options instead. A number of countries followed the recommendations. The third big problem is the detention of migrants. People are in overcrowded premises, do not have access to medical services, ”said Carolina Hernandez, UNHCR Human Rights Advisor..

The United States remains the most attractive country for migrants in the world, home to more than 50 million migrants. Kelly Ann Whelan works for the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, which helps the Department of State host refugees in the U.S., notes the country is facing an unprecedented influx of underage migrants.

“We try to focus on those who need help most and are the most vulnerable. Therefore, we are now giving priority to children trying to cross the border unaccompanied by adults. We usually try to divide migrants into “forced” and “voluntary” ones. Now we see that there are much more forced migrants in our part of the world. The reasons they leave their homes are varied, but tend to be related to violence and inequality. ”- Kelly Ann Whelan.

She adds: the migration process, especially in the case of a very difficult and takes years, and sometimes decades.

UNHCR Human Rights: pandemic worsens human rights situation

“For example, LGBT people are leaving Uganda because of the persecution. They usually try to leave for a neighboring country, which is a little safer. After they get there, they are usually placed in a camp. And some of these refugees remain in camps for decades, awaiting resettlement elsewhere. – notes Kelly Ann Whelan. “The asylum seeker is also a refugee, but the difference is that the asylum seekers first arrive in the country and try to claim protection, rather than wait in a third country.”.

Kelly Ann Whelan notes: the issue of migrants is resolved in different ways by the governments of different states: “After a fire in a Greek refugee camp a few months ago, the UN moved people from there. Part was taken by Finland, part by Germany, part by France. Greece actually sent migrants to drift boats in the Mediterranean, which was not a good thing. Australia continues the same policy as always: we will place you on the island until we decide what to do with you. “.

Hernandez adds: when talking about the rights of a migrant, it is necessary to demonstrate that human rights are not an abstraction: “We forget that“ others ”want what we want: security, respect for their human dignity, and adhere to the same values ​​that we do. “, – emphasizes the UNHCR Human Rights Advisor.

Kelly Ann agrees with her: everyone would do the same if they were in the place of a migrant who, because of the imminent danger, decided to leave his homeland.

“It must be recognized that migrants bring many benefits to the countries in which they settle. The United States is a country of immigrants. You just need to remember that we ourselves could be these people, ”she adds..

The U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants hopes that with the arrival of the new administration, the current United States policy on the issue of migrants will change..

  • Alexander Yanevsky

    Journalist. Graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He has worked on Channel 1 + 1 and Channel 5, on the Voice of America since 2014, and was one of two Voice of America correspondents covering the 2018 Russian presidential elections from Moscow. He pays attention to the topic of US-Ukrainian and US-Russian relations. Actively covered the case of Paul Manafort and Maria Butina.

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