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Press Release

IRC: Macedonia border closure to Afghans another example of arbitrary decisions which threaten the lives & wellbeing of refugees

The International Rescue Committee is deeply concerned by reports that Afghans are being denied entry into Macedonia. This is yet another example of arbitrary, unilateral decisions by individual states threatening to cause serious humanitarian consequences for desperate refugees fleeing from war and persecution.

EU and international law require that border enforcement respect fundamental rights, including the right to seek asylum, and ensure humane treatment. Nationality must not determine eligibility for refugee status. People from all nationalities must be granted their right to a fair and thorough status determination procedure based on their individual circumstances.

In addition, the resultant overcrowding along the border means refugees, the majority of whom are women and children, are even more vulnerable to disease, smuggling, family separation, gender-based violence, and other human rights violations. This must be avoided.

Even the strictest border control efforts will not stop refugees coming - it will only make journeys far more dangerous and play into the hands of smugglers. The flow of refugees requires multi-lateral action, coordinated management, and a proper assessment of needs and required services along migratory routes.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.