Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner makes recommendation to member states on foreigners' rights

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles sent out his first recommendation since taking office in 1999 to authorities of all 43 Council of Europe member states on September 19, 2001, regarding the rights of non-citizens. The recommendation was issued in response to the precarious legal and humanitarian situation of foreigners arriving at state borders and the treatment of those refused entry or expelled. Mr Gil-Robles reminded member states that foreigners have the right not to be regarded from the outset as criminals, and stressed his concern of reported cases wherein foreigners are turned back as soon as they step off the plane, since this deprives them of any right they might have to request asylum, should they be refugees. He also stressed that there should be strict limits on holding foreigners for lengthy periods in the international areas of airports. Mr Gil-Robles issued his recommendation following a meeting with non-governmental organisations including the ERRC, government representatives and experts in June 2001, to review states' approaches.

(Council of Europe)

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