UNHCR is concerned by remarks on refugees in the Czech Republic and calls for tolerance and protection for those in need

Tuesday 20, October 2015

BUDAPEST, October 20, 2015 (UNHCR) – The UN Refugee Agency is very concerned at the recent remarks referring to refugees and migrants attributed to the highest institutional representatives in the Czech Republic.

UNHCR calls on the country's leadership to stand in solidarity with those fleeing violence and persecution. 94% of the persons arriving in Greece are coming from the top 10 refugee producing countries in the world and most of them move onwards to other European countries. “Refugees are running for their lives and are looking for compassion and protection, in accordance with international law,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR's Director for the Bureau of Europe.

The UN refugee agency also reminded that the institution of asylum is built on the basic principle of respect for human life, irrespective of race, religion and the nationality of the individual seeking sanctuary. “When millions of people are going through one of the worst displacement emergencies in recent times, we call for more tolerance and understanding for the plight of refugees,” Cochetel appealed. “The same tolerance and solidarity that was demonstrated to Czechoslovak refugees when they fled their country in 1968.”

UNHCR warned that fuelling xenophobia, islamophobia and intolerance runs contrary to the Czech Republic' obligations under international human rights principles, which are at the core of the European Union's foundations.

For further information, please contact:
Babar Baloch, Senior Regional Communications Officer in Central Europe; +36 30 530 96 33; baloch@unhcr.org

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