On 31 March 2016 IDC Advocacy Coordinator, Ben Lewis, attended a meeting hosted by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland welcoming the newly-appointed Special Representative to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (COE) on Migration and Refugees, Ambassador Tomas Boček of the Czech Republic.


Ambassador Boček was appointed the Special Representative on Migration and Refugees by COE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland following serious reports and allegations of human rights violations against migrants and refugees in Europe. The Special Representative will undertake fact-finding missions, liaise with international partners including the UNHCR, IOM, UNICEF, EU, FRONTEX and reinforce the Council of Europe’s cooperation with these organisations.


The Special Representative’s objective is to collect and analyse information on the human rights situation of migrants and refugees in Europe, enabling the COE to provide better assistance and support to member states, especially in locations where a sudden increase in migrants and refugees poses serious challenges to the protection of their fundamental rights, in particular Article 3 “Inhuman and degrading treatments” and Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights “Right to liberty and security”.


Ambassador Boček has already undertaken fact-finding missions to Macedonia and Greece, including visits to the controversial «hot spots» in addition to migrant and refugee shelters.  The Special Representative also met with government officials, local and independent authorities and representatives of UNHCR and NGOs, in order to gather information on the situation of the asylum seekers and other migrants, and paying specific attention to issues related to the application of asylum and children migrants.


Additional Links:


COE Press Release


Interview with Ambassador Boček on his priorities as Special Representative on Migration and Refugees