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Greece / Migrant crisis: UN expert launches follow-up visit to assess impact on human rights

GENEVA (9 May 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Greece from 12 to 16 May 2016 to gather information on the complex management of the Greek border, and its impact on the human rights of migrants.

“In 2015, over one million migrants arrived in Greece; its proximity to Turkey makes it a key point of entry for many migrants seeking to reach Europe,” Mr. Crépeau said. “This visit will allow me to follow up on my 2013 and 2015 reports* on the management of the external borders of the European Union, which took me to Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Malta and the EU institutions in Brussels and Vienna.”

“Territorial sovereignty is about controlling the border, knowing who comes in and who leaves. It has never been about sealing the border to migration,” the expert reiterated. “Democratic borders are porous by nature. Providing migrants and asylum seekers with legal and safe mobility solutions will ensure such a control.”

During his five-day visit to Greece, the human rights expert will meet with a range of Government officials, international organisations, civil society organisations, migrant organisations, and migrants themselves.

At the end of the mission, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 16 May 2016 at 12pm, at the Hotel Electra Palace Athens (18 N. Nikodimou Str., 10557 Athens, Greece). Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur’s study will result in a follow-up country mission report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s 2013 and 2015 reports (A/HRC/23/46, A/HRC/23/46/Add.4, and A/HRC/29/36): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/AnnualReports.aspx

Mr. François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Crépeau is also Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, in Montréal, where he holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law and is scientific director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/SRMigrantsIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

Read the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CMW.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Greece: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Alice Ochsenbein (+41 79 444 37 07 / aochsenbein@ohchr.org)
Elizabeth Wabuge (+41 79 109 68 75 / ewabuge@ohchr.org)
Dimitrios Fatouros (+32 2 788 84 68 / fatouros@unric.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: please contact Mr. Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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