Press release: World Refugee Day – Protecting the rights of all refugees
Brussels, 20 June 2022
June 20th marks the International World Refugee Day. Currently there are 26 million refugees in the world, half of which are children. Many are fleeing war, some are fleeing persecution because of the discrimination and/or violence they feel owing to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics. Others flee other human rights violations, yet one thing remains clear: they all flee to find protection.
Refugees always bring their specific identities with them. Some of those will intersect and enlarge the risk of discrimination. Being a person of colour, LGBTIQ, a woman, a child or a person with disabilities creates specific vulnerabilities which need to be taken into account by the receiving Member State. As such, they must be able to avail themselves of that protection.
The Intergroups on Child Rights Intergroup, LGBTI Rights and Anti-racism and Diversity take a joint position to remind that asylum is a human right and that Europe should be a safe haven for all refugees.
Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana MEP (Greens-EFA), ARDI Intergroup Co-President, comments:
All of us, all of you and all those fleeing the war in Ukraine deserve the same respect without exception. And yet it exists, the hidden but also open racism that wants to claim differences in the treatment of a human being and that does not remain silent despite the war. Everyone has the right to flee and to be treated in a welcoming manner. World Refuge Day should be a day of celebration of individuals’ talents and competence, whether they are migrants or refugees, regardless of their skin colour, nationality or sexual orientation. Because when we focus on the talents and competence of everyone, we ensure a society that actively contributes to its own well-being, inclusive and diverse.
Marc Angel MEP (S&D), LGBTI Intergroup Co-Chair, adds:
Still in the 21st century, being part of the LGBTIQ community can lead to differential treatment! As a migrant or refugee, you can face intersectional discrimination based on origin, religion but also on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Gender-based violence, harassment, or lack of recognition of gender makes refugees vulnerable – and this still happens in Europe! This continues to happen in the Union independently of the protection granted by the treaties and EU law in terms of gender equality but also asylum. This shows how our EU legislation still needs to be improved and reinforced. As co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, but also as a member of the conference on the future of Europe, I proudly support the citizens’ recommendations in this respect and will keep working towards realising them.
David Lega MEP (EPP), Children’s Rights Intergroup Co-Chair, concludes:
A child is always a child, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background or migration status – and should always be given priority when fleeing in seek of protection. All children around the world should be given a real opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential, leaving no one behind. On World Refugee Day, and today more than ever, we need to show solidarity to those in need of protection and lend a helping hand to unaccompanied children who seek refuge in Europe by giving them immediate access to adequate services. Children always pay the highest toll during conflicts and crises and we should not allow that they become a collateral damage for adults’ choices.
Office of Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana MEP – Amina Nyirahirwa (Amina.Nyirahirwa@ep.europa.eu)
Office of Marc Angel MEP – Daniel Constantinides (Daniel.Constantinides@ep.europa.eu)
Office of David Lega MEP – Natalie Tegelberg (Natalie.Tegelberg@ep.europa.eu)