We meet in troubled times when human rights, even the fundamentals of the regional and international systems, are challenged. We need, more than ever, to intensify our cooperation in defence of human rights.
For more than a year now, we have heard the phrase ‘refugee crisis’ used by politicians, the media, and the public. And a crisis it undoubtedly is. However, it is not the refugees who are causing the crisis, but the lack of their protection and the solidarity needed to guarantee that protection. Europe will have failed if we fail on this issue. It is so integral to the values on which the EU was founded, and it is currently having such devastating consequences for the people trying to reach Europe’s shores. The rights to life and to dignity enshrined in EU and international law are not negotiable.
Plus d'un million de personnes ont cherché refuge au sein de l'Union l’an dernier. L'Europe s'est ainsi trouvée devant des défis sans précédent. Soyons clair : la crise des réfugiés est une crise des droits fondamentaux. Elle affecte non seulement les personnes concernées, mais aussi l'Union européenne en tant que telle. Si nous échouons à résoudre cette question, qui est si proche des valeurs fondatrices de l’Union européenne, l'Europe aura échoué. ** SEUL LE DISCOURS PRONONCE FAIT FOI **
We cannot fight terrorism without confronting its ideological support base with a strong and determined human rights-based counter-narrative reflecting the universal values of tolerance, respect for diversity, and solidarity; supported by all major political forces; and permeating related mainstream media discourses.
In order to find rise to the many challenges Europe is facing, we need real debate. We don’t always have to agree. We need to welcome the many different perspectives all of us bring to the table. But we have to talk to each other to find solutions. That’s why we are bringing together political and thought leaders, academia, the media, national human rights institutions, equality bodies, business representatives, and grassroots groups in a dialogue that takes place far too rarely.
Speech by FRA Director during panel debate on 'Upholding the rights of the child in the current migration crisis' given at the high-level conference on the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021) in Sofia, Bulgaria on 5th April.