Distinguishing between those who want to move, and those who must
Refugees fleeing from conflicts or persecution are highly vulnerable. If other countries do not allow them to enter their territory, or if they send them back, these people may be condemned to live intolerable lives. In some cases, they suffer human rights abuses. In other cases, they are tortured or killed.
While it is the legitimate right of any government to secure their territory and prevent irregular immigration, it is vital that anyone seeking asylum in a country have access to it. According to international law, states are obliged to provide protection to those in need, and are prohibited from returning a person to a place where life or freedom is threatened. This is a core principle of refugee protection, the principle of non-refoulement.
To ensure that every person seeking asylum in Central Europe has access to safe territory, and fair and efficient asylum procedures, UNHCR has established border management projects across the region. Learn more about these projects by visiting the link below.
Today, migration has become highly complex and involves not only refugees, but also millions of migrants, who are usually searching for work and a better life. Smugglers worldwide have made fortunes preying on the desperation of these people, and regularly try to breach the eastern borders of the EU.
Refugees and migrants are not the same. Migrants choose to move in order to find opportunities for themselves and their families. Refugees must move in order to save their lives or preserve their freedom. UNHCR works to ensure that asylum-seekers and migrants are never confused even when traveling together, and that people seeking international protection are never turned away at a border.
Learn how UNHCR deals with the issue of mixed migration by visiting the link below.