World Refugee Day with Ambassador Drahoslav Štefánek, the CoE Special Representative on Migration and Refugees
Time & Location
About the Event
We will delve into Ambassador Štefánek’s mandate and the activities of the Council of Europe (CoE) with regard to refugees and migrants, concentrating more on refugees as this conversation is occurring on occasion of world refugee day (20 June).
We will discuss:
- The CoE’s Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe (2021-2025), as well as the lessons that were learned from the previous Action Plan (2017-2019)
- The Special Representative’s recent visit to Turkey, as well as other visits and comments on the situation in CoE member States
- How the CoE member States responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of refugees and migration and what activities his office carried out to support and ensure the safeguarding of the rights of refugees and migrants.
- The Special Representative’s collaboration with UN entities
- Publications and other projects the Special Representative’s office developed.
The Mandate of the Special Representative of the Council of Europe Secretary General on Migration and Refugees
The mandate of the Special Representative of the Council of Europe Secretary General on Migration and Refugees was established in 2016, in response to the humanitarian crisis following the movements of refugees and migrants to Council of Europe (CoE) member States. The mandate initially included providing assistance and support to member States by coordinating CoE actions, as well as with other international organisations working in the field of international protection and migration.
Since 2016, the CoE has continued to monitor the situation of refugees and migrants with a particular focus on the protection of the most vulnerable. There is continued acknowledgement that pressure on frontline States is still present and that there have been several incidents of hate speech, xenophobia and violence against refugees and migrants and NGOs and journalists working on the field.
Although the situation of refugee and migrant children was deemed to be a short-term problem, the CoE understands that their protection required a long-term commitment that to this day remains a priority for the Council.
The Special Representative carries out various activities:
- Collects and analyses information, including through fact-finding missions, on the human rights situation of refugees and migrants. The analysis is principally based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe instruments.
- Liaises with relevant international organisations and specialised agencies, as well as migration authorities in member States.
- Advises the Secretary General of the CoE on ways to strengthen CoE assistance and advice to member States regarding the human rights treatment of refugees and migrants based on their international obligations.
- Strengthens the response of the CoE by working closely with the CoE’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Parliamentary Assembly and other divisions and structures of the CoE.
For more information please visit: https://www.coe.int/en/web/special-representative-secretary-general-migration-refugees
Ambassador Drahoslav Štefánek’s Biography
On 18 December 2019, on the occasion of International Migrants Day, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe appointed Ambassador Drahoslav Štefánek as the new Special Representative on migration and refugees.
Ambassador Štefánek is a lawyer by training and a career diplomat and has previously served as Head of the Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2017-2019) and before that he was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe (2012-2016).
Prior to joining the Council of Europe, Ambassador Štefánek was Director General for the UN, International Organisations, EU Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia. He also chaired the UN Working Group on an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. From 2004 to 2009, he was the Deputy Permanent Representative to the Slovak Permanent Mission to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva and from 1997 to 2001 he acted as the Second Secretary and Legal Adviser of Slovakia to the United Nations in New York.
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