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Subject: [Fwd: [Fwd: UNHCR PRESS RELEASE]]
From: Kinsey Dinan (dinank@hrw.org)
Date: Fri Jul 07 2000 - 16:52:24 EDT

> >From UNHCR NGO Unit
> 6 July 2000
> Media Advisory
> A new, independent study commissioned by the UN refugee
> agency (UNHCR) shows that human trafficking is the only
> escape route for many genuine refugees who flee
> persecution and seek protection in Europe. It recommends
> that European nations review their migration and asylum
> policies to open other channels to people fleeing persecution
> in their native countries.
> The 100-page report, written by U.K.-based human rights and
> migration expert John Morrison, is titled "Trafficking and
> Smuggling of Refugees - The End Game of European Asylum
> Policy?" It will be released by the author at a Geneva news
> conference on Friday.
> The report says the European Union's declared commitment
> to the right to seek asylum is contradicted by its
> determination to combat trafficking in human beings.
> Morrison's study makes it clear that criminals exploiting the
> human rights of migrants through human trafficking deserve
> the full weight of international justice. But it also says
> traffickers and smugglers are often the refugees' last resort.
> "As international policy currently stands, if European
> governments were ever successful in stopping organised
> illegal migration at source or in transit countries, they would
> have ended European asylum policy as we know it," says the
> report.
> The study notes that Europe's most smuggled and trafficked
> nationalities, such as Iraqis and Afghans, also happen to
> have a very high rate of recognition as refugees under
> Europe's own asylum procedures. It estimates between
> one-third and two-thirds of the most trafficked nationalities
> are eventually recognised.
> The study concludes that in the European Union "the effects
> of blanket enforcement measures, such as common visa
> policies, readmission treaties, carrier sanctions and airline
> liaison officers, act to deny refugees the possibility of illegal
> exit from the regions of their persecution."
> The report says enforcement measures alone are unlikely to
> provide a solution to trafficking problems. "Any
> comprehensive approach that tackles trafficking and
> smuggling successfully requires legal and safe migration
> opportunities for all refugees, as well as necessary
> enforcement measures."
> It also recommends that "all parties must be clear and
> consistent in the language they use in order to overcome the
> large amount of public confusion and mistrust on issues of
> asylum policy." It says "all parties [should] endeavour to use
> the more neutral term 'irregular migrant' in all situations of
> trafficking or smuggling until the point that protection is
> actively sought by the migrant, at which point they become
> an 'asylum-seeker'."
> Note: It will be posted on UNHCR's web site at www.unhcr.ch
> as of 1300 hrs CET Friday, July 7.
> .

Rachael Reilly
Refugee Policy Director
Human Rights Watch
350, Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor,
New York, NY 10118-3299
Tel: 212 216 1208
Fax: 212 736 1300

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