The European Union could handle “a million” refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said on Monday.
The EU “could offer asylum to a million people who have fled conflict zones in Syria and elsewhere for several years”, he told the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva. He also said that “refugees aren’t criminals”.
They would represent just 0.2% of the EU’s population, while 26% of Lebanon’s population are refugees, he said. Immigrants, “whether they have a visa or not, are people and have the same human rights as all of us here”, he told the Council’s 750 members. Mr Zeid also complimented the EU’s “more global” approach to immigration, but would like “more audacious steps”.
The Canadian François Crépeau, special reporter on Immigrant Human Rights for the UN, said repressive polices had failed to contain the number of immigrants. He compared it to the failure of the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. From January to the end of May 2015, more than 100,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean, and 1,865 drowned trying, according to the OIM.