31 July 2018
London. UK. Human Rights at Sea has joined nine other leading NGOs in an open letter to UNHCR over the ongoing handling of the Mediterranean crisis.
To the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi,
The signing organizations have been closely monitoring the latest developments on the Central Mediterranean. While at the time of a similar crisis in the Mediterranean, the Cap Anamur, UNHCR urged the EU to adopt a clear position towards the protection of refugee rights1, we now perceive with great concern a changing approach of UNHCR.
We are well aware of the challenges and limits that UNHCR is subjected in operations in Northern Africa. Nonetheless, at the intergovernmental level, UNHCR remains the central actor responsible for refugee protection, critically reminding states of their humanitarian and legal obligations. Within the last few weeks, UNHCR repeatedly stressed its willingness to act as an executive body for European migration policies, leaving open questions regarding human rights issues aside. We have perceived UNHCR’s current position with concern.