The state has a crucial role in protecting the rights of refugees, Ombudswoman and Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights Maria Stylianou-Lottides said on Sunday.
In a statement to mark World Refugee Day, Lottides said at the same time, “acceptance and solidarity is not only the obligation of the state, it is the obligation of all of us”.
The Commissioner said that 70 years after the adoption of the United Nations Refugee Convention, almost 82.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes, with 42 per cent of all violently displaced being girls and boys under the age of 18.
She said that the Unhcr estimates that from 2018 to 2020, almost one million children were born as refugees.
“The protection and care of children, the oppressed, those whose lives are threatened and their freedom is an obligation of every society that puts people at its centre,” she added.
The Unhcr is also calling on world leaders to achieve peace, stability and cooperation, and in the meantime to provide the tools to respond to displacement by dealing with conflicts and persecutions that have forced people to leave their homes from the beginning.”
She noted that the growing trend of large waves of refugees and migrants also increases racist behaviour, xenophobia, rhetoric and hate crimes against the most vulnerable victims.
“Refugee flows continue to be one of the greatest humanitarian crises facing humanity in recent decades. The ‘refugee’ is in itself an integral part of history, but also of our own history from July 1974,” Lottides said.