In an oral statement before the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor stated that while the entire world is still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, migrants and refugees still face the greatest risk as they still face discriminations and obstacles, threatening their lives.

In a joint statement with the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH) during the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Euro-Med Monitor shed light on 12,000 migrants and asylum seekers, who are left without shelter after fires broke out in Moria camp. They have been living under tragic circumstances for years as none of the camp’s residents were allowed to leave Lesbos city except for unaccompanied minors. Further, decisions were forcibly imposed on them, where they never had the chance to decide for their own future.

Rawan Matini, a researcher at the Euro-Med Monitor, said in her statement, “The best step for further development of migrants and asylum seekers is to give them their voice and allow them to decide for themselves. However, the problem is that they do not have the chance to talk, where they find themselves unable to participate actively and to shape their own lives in the host societies.”

Matini stated that COVID-19 had a dramatic effect on migrants and asylum seekers, where overcrowded camps and shelters lack the minimum precautionary standards, and authorities are not paying enough attention to combat the pandemic facing migrants.

The Euro-Med Monitor revealed that the absence of meaningful participation of migrants in decision-making processes represents a significant obstacle in the realization of their right to development, particularly in times of illness, urgency and impoverishment.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor and the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH) called on the Human Rights Council to exert pressure on the host countries to listen the needs of the migrants and asylum seekers and to involve them in the decision-making processes, which has a strong impact on their lives as participating in the decision-making processes is a guaranteed right.