UN Chief Ban Ki-moon Raps EU’s ‘Restrictive’ Refugee Policies

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon Raps EU’s ‘Restrictive’ Refugee Policies
Thu Apr 28, 2016 16:51:13

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has censured “increasingly restrictive” policies against refugees arriving in Europe.

“I am concerned that European countries are now adopting increasingly-restrictive immigration and refugee policies,” Ban told in a speech to the Austrian parliament on Thursday.

Pointing to rising anti-refugee sentiments in Europe, Ban also said he was “alarmed by the growing xenophobia” across the continent.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon

“Such policies negatively affect the obligation of member states under international humanitarian law and European law.”

His remarks came a day after the Austrian parliament approved one of Europe’s toughest asylum laws.

The controversial law allows the government to declare a “state of emergency” if the number of asylum seekers suddenly rise, and reject most refugees, including those from war-hit countries like Syria.

The legislation has met fierce criticism by rights groups, religious leaders and opposition parties. Campaigners said the measures would clearly run against international human rights conventions.

On Wednesday, the UN’s refugee agency warned that the legislation “removes a centerpiece of refugee protection.”

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.

Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions, forcing more people out of their homes.

Last month, Turkey and the EU sealed a controversial deal intended to stem the flow of refugees from Syria and other troubled countries to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.

Under the agreement, the bloc will take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and reward it with money, visa exemption and progress in its EU membership negotiations.

Critics, however, say deporting people without considering their asylum applications violates international law.

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