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UNHCR encourages EU to further reinforce refugees' rights

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This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today's Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva. Further information can be found on the UNHCR websites, www.unhcr.org and www.unhcr.fr, which should also be checked for regular media updates on non-briefing days.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, welcomes the adoption of the Stockholm Programme, setting the priorities of the European Union (EU) on asylum and other justice and home affairs issues from 2010 to 2014. At the same time, UNHCR calls on the EU to ensure that migration management objectives do not overshadow refugee protection principles.

UNHCR welcomes the EU's expressed aim to develop further its Common European Asylum System based on the 'full and inclusive application' of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention. UNHCR looks forward to working with the future European Asylum Support office, which should focus on promoting quality and coherence of asylum decisions.

UNHCR hopes that measures proposed in the Stockholm Programme will lead to more free movement rights for refugees. While responsibility-sharing within the EU remains a major challenge, EU Member States should demonstrate more solidarity with countries hosting large refugee populations outside the EU, including through resettlement.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

In Brussles: Gilles van Moortel on mobile +32 473 172 358

In Geneva: Sybella Wilkes on mobile +44 79 557 9138