15 January 2015

UNHCR has published recommendations in the area of asylum to the incoming Latvian EU Presidency. According to UNHCR, of particular urgency is the matter of strengthening rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, improving reception conditions and providing swift access to asylum procedures to those in need of international protection.

Furthermore, UNHCR also urges prioritising refugees’ access to EU territory, among reports of push backs and the denial of entry at borders. The recommendations set out the need to ensure protection-sensitive border management that is in line with fundamental rights, and adherence to the principle of non-refoulement. Increasing legal alternatives for refugees by expanding resettlement and facilitating family reunification should also be a priority for the presidency.

In addition to committing to end statelessness, exploring alternatives to detention, and improving responses to refugees and asylum seekers with specific needs, such as unaccompanied children and victims of torture, UNHCR also calls for the Latvian Presidency to encourage Member States to meet the deadline of 21 July 2015 for transposing and implementing the new provisions of the Common European Asylum System.  

The Latvian Presidency presented its priorities to the European Parliament this week.


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