Source: Republic of Turkey
The number of refugees and asylum seekers and the difficulties they face increase every day. COVID-19 pandemic that affects the whole world has further exacerbated the conditions of these vulnerable persons. Measures taken during a period, where many countries have turned inwards to fight against the pandemic, have negatively impacted the situation of refugees and asylum seekers. Protecting refugees and asylum seekers and ensuring their rapid and efficient access to basic services, especially health-care have become even more essential.
Turkey, as the largest refugee hosting country in the world, has taken necessary measures as before, in order to protect these people, enable their access to all basic services, inform them of the pandemic and support the most vulnerable. Turkey also continues her international efforts in this respect. Lately, a high level teleconference hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, took place on 9 June 2020 to draw attention to the situation of refugees during the pandemic and emphasize the need for international cooperation.
Improving the living conditions of refugees and asylum seekers and finding durable solutions to their problems are common responsibility and duty of the international community. In this regard, we emphasize that eliminating the root causes in source countries forcing people to leave their countries, preparing the conditions that would facilitate safe, voluntary and dignified returns of refugees to their homelands and increasing third country solutions, such as resettlement, are important. We once again call all stakeholders, especially donor countries, to take action in line with more equitable burden and responsibility sharing. We believe that this duty has become more significant and urgent during and after the pandemic. We remind that the right to seek asylum emanating from international law cannot be invoked, refugees and asylum seekers may not be subjected to inhumane treatment, cannot be pushed back and in this regard, all countries should respect their obligations arising from international human rights conventions and 1951 Geneva Convention. In addition, we consider the Global Compact on Refugees as a guidebook to protect refugees during the fight against COVID-19. We invite all stakeholders to implement the Compact.
We hope that the World Refugee Day will lead to a period, where the number of refugees will decrease, durable solutions both in terms of quality and quantity will increase and further solidarity with these people and host countries will be displayed.