Lessons Learned in Securing the Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees

  • Government, civil society, the Serbian Ombuds institution, and members of the UN family gathered today for three days of Chatham House discussions of lessons learned in securing the human rights of migrants and refugees on the Balkan Land Route.

Subotica, 20 June 2016 - Government, civil society, the Serbian Ombuds institution, and members of the UN family gathered today for three days of Chatham House discussions of lessons learned in securing the human rights of migrants and refugees on the Balkan Land Route.

The months since the beginning of 2015 – and in particular the very significantly heightened arrival of migrants and refugees along the Balkan land route -- have tested Serbia’s ability to provide effective protection and inclusion to persons fully outside the polity, as well as to mobilize international support for these efforts.   Systems including refugee protection, health response, psycho-social support and trauma response, child protection, security, and the ability to provide basic shelter and sanitation have all been tested.   New balances in service-provision between state and civil society have also taken shape.    These system-wide responses are relevant in the given circumstances for the protection, inclusion and human rights of migrants and refugees, but they also offer wider lessons for Serbia’s human rights protection and social inclusion systems.   

The thematic roundtable convened in Subotica provided a platform for Chatham House discussion of lessons learned, around several key thematic bands, including refugee protection and inclusion, the rights of migrants in an irregular situations, protection from gender-based violence, the rights of the child, and trauma response and psycho-social counselling.      

The event has been convened by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Social and Veterans Policy, together with the Office of the United Nations High Commisioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the civil society organization International Aid Network (IAN).  Participants included a broad segments of Government civil society and UNCT Serbia, as well as the Serbian Ombuds institution. Partial funding was also provided by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

UN entities involved in this initiative
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme