“States should not impose penalties on arriving asylum-seek”


Viewpoint by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Comissioner for Human Rights

A minimum of solidarity with those oppressed is to receive them when they are forced to flee. The “right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” is indeed a key provision in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, this right is not fully observed in parts of Europe today. Instead, refugees are met with suspicion and too often even placed in detention.

It has to be repeated that some of those who seek to enter Europe have well-founded fear of persecution. They are under threat because of their ethnicity, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. Some of them have already suffered serious ill-treatment in their country of origin. They are refugees who have been forced to migrate.

Also available at the Commissioner’s website at www.commissioner.coe.int