Maurice Kirschbaum's address to the UN Human Rights Council

Maurice Kirschbaum's address to the UN Human Rights Council

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Thank you Mr. President. Dear members of the council, my name is Maurice Kirschbaum and I speak on behalf of the European Union of Jewish students, an umbrella organization representing 35 national Jewish Student unions.

On this World Refugee Day, we are harrowed to see that the number of  refugees worldwide has risen to 65 million, the highest it’s ever been since World War 2. We, as a Jewish organisation, cannot help but be reminded of our own experience of persecution and forced displacement.

The European response to the refugee crisis can only be described as inadequate.

People in an urgent need for protection and a human right to seek asylum are not being sheltered.

There are three main concerns:

Firstly, the Dublin Regulation. By forcing migrants to seek asylum in Europe’s periphery which is less equipped to house and protect migrants, Europe is not living up to its obligations.

Secondly, Detention. The European Court of Justice ruled in early June that the EU Return Directive forbids member states to imprison individuals solely because they have illegally entered Schengen territory. This ruling is consistent with High Commissioner Zeid’s report that the practice of detaining migrants has become widespread in the central Mediterranean area, especially in Italy and Greece.

Thirdly, Deportation. The EU-Turkey deal and a potential EU-Libya deal clearly go against the right to seek asylum provided by article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Finally, most economists agree there are enough resources to host refugees and take care of asylum seekers. Instead of criminalising refugees, the most important issue lies in helping those in urgent need of protection from persecution, torture and death.

On behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students, we urge the council to take action to ensure the safety of all refugees, regardless of their nationality or religion.

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