First report on the activities of the Secretary General’s Special Representative on Migration and Refugees - 1 February 2016 to 31 January 2018
Introduction and overview of activities
The Secretary General appointed me to be his Special Representative on Migration and Refugees as of 1 February 2016. I am the first person to hold the post, the creation of which was announced in December 2015. My first mandate was for two years; a second two-year mandate has recently been agreed.
My terms of reference are to collect information on the protection of the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees in Europe and to offer advice and assistance to member states; to strengthen the co-ordination of migration-related activities within the Organisation; and to develop further our co-operation and effective communication with international partners. The protection of refugee and migrant children is one of my key priorities. As a Special Representative of the Secretary General, my task is not to monitor member states but rather to work with them to find and implement solutions to the challenges linked to migration in Europe.
In the two years since my appointment, I have conducted six fact-finding missions in nine member states and published five mission reports. I have worked, in co-operation with the states concerned and other sectors of the Council of Europe, to implement follow-up activities in line with the recommendations in my reports.
I have also published a thematic report on children and prepared, after consultation with other relevant services of the Organisation, an Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children. The Action Plan was adopted by the Committee of Ministers in May 2017. I have established good channels of communication with international partners including the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a number of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
During this time, I have also built up my Office. At the end of the second year of my mandate, my team is composed of six staff members: two legal advisers, a political adviser, a programme officer, a communications officer and an administrative assistant. I have a website and social media accounts and my Office publishes a monthly newsletter about Council of Europe migration-related activities.
I am grateful to the Governments of Hungary, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Monaco, Italy and Serbia and to the International Association of Former Council of Europe Staff Members for their voluntary financial contributions to support our work on refugee and migrant children. I also wish to record my thanks to Turkey for seconding an official to my Office for a year (July 2016 to July 2017).