In her address to Parliament, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett called on the EU not to fortify borders and denounced the practice of externalising asylum processing.
In her introductory remarks, President Metsola recalled the European Parliament’s strong engagement in asylum and migration, saying she was hopeful that the EU’s new legislative framework would be agreed before the end of the current legislature.
Cate Blanchett underscored that there are 114 million forcibly displaced people in the world today. It is important that the EU and its member states continue to support humanitarian work, including the work of UNHCR- the UN Refugee Agency-, financially, she added, in order to help people across the globe in many ongoing conflicts.
She called for international refugee law to be upheld, notably the 1951 Geneva Convention, as this was “not only still relevant but foundational to our common humanity”. Universal principles enshrined in the convention and put into practice have saved millions of lives, she said.
As almost 90% of displaced persons are hosted in low and middle-income countries, she urged the EU to focus its policy on protecting refugees and not on fortifying borders. She also recalled the unacceptable human cost of the harmful practice of externalising asylum processing.
You can watch Cate Blanchett’s speech here.