“The situation for asylum seekers continues to be appalling in the Greek Reception and Identification Centre at Moria on the island of Lesbos, which houses 7500 people at present,” said Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC) who visited Athens, Kavala, Drama and Lesbos from 10 to 12 July for the preparation of her future PACE report on “Greek islands: more needs to be done.
Europe is a destination for people seeking international protection or a better life, due to wars, political turmoil and the poverty affecting its neighbouring regions. This inflow adds to the migrants and refugees who have already settled in Europe. At the same time, populists question Europe’s capacity to absorb a greater number of migrants and refugees, as well as the latter’s willingness to integrate.
Council of Europe member States should put the protection of human life above all other considerations during sea rescues, regardless of the status of those involved, PACE has said after a major triple debate in Strasbourg on the migration and refugee crisis.
PACE has said that greater financial support from the international community for refugees in the countries neighbouring Syria is “indispensable”, while calling on these countries to maintain an “open-door” policy.
Approving a resolution based in a report by Manlio di Stefano (Italy, NR), the Assembly pointed out that over 5.3 million Syrian refugees were now living in neighbouring states of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, placing these countries under “enormous strain”.
Doris Fiala (Switzerland, ALDE), Chairperson of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, has commended Spain for its offer to open the port of Valencia to the Aquarius, now drifting in the Mediterranean sea with 629 migrants on board rescued from Libya’s coast, including over 120 unaccompanied minors as well as other children and several pregnant women.