V4 ombudsmen issue joint statement on migrants, refugees

Int’l Relations

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The ombudsmen of Visegrád Four (V4) countries – Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic – have striven to ensure that the state authorities in their countries “treated all migrants and refugees in a humane and non-degrading manner, based on laws, EU directives and commitments following from international and European treaties”, according to a joint statement, entitled “People first” and dated October 2.

“In cases where we believe such treatment is not guaranteed, we do not hesitate to raise our voice publicly. We also support those groups of civil society that provide help to migrants in all four of our countries,” the statement adds.

The ombudsmen note that protecting members of the “most vulnerable groups” is at the “core of ombudsmen mandates all over Europe”. It says that people who are forced to flee their country deserve to be protected “regardless of their legal status”. However, the statement adds, “Refugees may not be considered and treated as a homogeneous group.” Therefore, “guaranteeing their fundamental rights has to be the task and responsibility of the international community, i.e., of the recipient countries and societies.” The ombudsmen go on to say: “Recipient countries should decide on granting international protection on the basis of personalized, individualized and thorough examinations.”

Commenting on the refugee situation Europe currently faces, the statement says that this “unprecedentedly grave situation that has risen as a result of mass migration, requires cooperation by all states including the countries of the Visegrád Four, and solutions meeting human rights standards.”

The V4 ombudsmen say they firmly believe “assuming responsibility for the refugees is a moral and legal obligation of the states of Europe”.

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