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Agreement on border monitoring ensures that refugees have access to Romanian territory
Friday 25, July 2008
Bucharest, July 25 (UNHCR) - Romania, the Romanian government and the National Council for Refugees signed a Tripartite Memorandum that will facilitate cooperation at Romania's external EU border to make sure that asylum seekers have access to the country.
During the signing ceremony in Bucharest on 22 July UNHCR representative Machiel Salomons emphasised that in times of tightening border controls it is crucial that frontiers do not become insurmountable for persons in need of international protection.
The Border Monitoring Agreement foresees continuous monitoring of asylum seeker movements across Romania's borders, border police training and an exchange of information between the General inspectorate of Border Police, UNHCR and the Romanian National Council for Refugees. The document formalises the cooperation and coordination which has started in 2003 and is already well established.
The Memorandum was signed at UNHCR's Bucharest office by the UNHCR Representative as well as the Director of the Border Police Directorate for Illegal Migration Gheorghe Tiron and the President of the National Council for Refugees, Niculae Carcu. Similar agreements already exist in Hungary and Slovakia. Other states located at the European Union's external land border are to follow soon.
"In the context of mixed migrations flows in Europe it is one of UNHCR's key policy goals to assist States in identifying persons in need of protection and ensuring that they have access to the territory and to asylum procedures," said Salomons. "With the Memorandum that has now been signed we are formalising a collaboration that is working particularly well in Romania."
The Romanian Memorandum is a direct result of UNHCR's 10 Point Plan of Action for the countries along the eastern and south-eastern borders of EU Member States that was established a year ago. The plan covers ten areas where UNHCR believes that initiatives are called for. These range from data collection and analysis to addressing secondary movements, defining protection strategies and interventions as well as return arrangements for non-refugees.
Read the Ten Point Plan of Action in English language here.
Gabriela Leu in Bucharest, Romania