Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov answers a question from the Interfax news agency
Question: Could you comment on media reports about serious, sometimes extremely tough measures taken by the authorities of EU member countries with regard to refugees in terms of the rule of law and international human rights law?
Konstantin Dolgov: The massive influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa into EU [countries] has essentially brought about a humanitarian catastrophe across the union. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of refugees and migrants in Europe exceeded 1 million in 2015. At the start of 2016 alone, the number of new arrivals was about 100,000.
We agree with international experts who point out that this influx has naturally resulted from the irresponsible and shortsighted interference of Western countries in the internal affairs of sovereign states in the region with the aim of changing governments that have been declared uncooperative and undemocratic.
We believe that the mistakes made by EU member countries amid the massive inflow of refugees and the resounding violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of people who had to flee their homes in search of safety have been caused by the long-standing deficit of a single policy, a coordinated approach and mechanism in this priority humanitarian area within the EU as an organisation. We have repeatedly warned our colleagues in Brussels about this. However, they prefer to ignore our proposals and concerns regarding human rights. The result is much in evidence.
1 March 2016