Refugees and COVID-19: the new UNHCR’s recommendations to the EU

Measures of social distancing enacted by the UNHCR with the local authorities at Kakuma camp in Kenya Measures of social distancing enacted by the UNHCR with the local authorities at Kakuma camp in Kenya UNHCR/Samuel Otieno


1 July 2020

With the end of the pandemic, the UNHCR stressed the importance of keeping the migratory issue high in the European political agenda

With the new phase of the fight against COVID-19 and the beginning of the German Presidency of the European Council, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) issued the new recommendations for the European Union in the field of migration. The agency highlighted the need for a robust and concrete European response through economic and political support for more effective, comprehensive as well as respectful action for the refugees and asylum seekers within the Union.

The non-discriminatory nature of COVID-19 means that maintaining adequate standards for refugees and asylum seekers, who are at risk due to the conditions to which they have been subjected, is crucial not only for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers, but of the population at large. The need for intra-European solidarity aimed at sharing good practices and promoting a proper redistribution of refugees between countries is therefore stressed for the maintenance of such guarantees in the facilities. 

The agency, while acknowledging the efforts made by most Members, has further promoted the now customary prevention and hygiene measures, stressing the need for their clear dissemination. Overall, streamlined, telematic and automatic procedures are therefore encouraged which, in the respect of the rights of individuals, allow a safer and more effective accommodation that can be the cornerstone of a more virtuous long-term system. It is also reaffirmed that the European Union's commitment to migration and prevention matters should be further extended in non-European receiving countries through flexible and targeted funding to limit the spread of the virus and improve the conditions for migrants, in particular internally displaced and stateless ones, who are difficult to detect within national systems.


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Author: Matteo Consiglio; Editor: Margherita Curti

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