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Online event
Migrant rights and COVID-19

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Thursday, 04 June 2020
 14:00 - 15:15
By invitation only


Henrik Nielsen
Head of Asylum Unit, DG HOME, European Commission
Marie Arena
Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, European Parliament
Michele LeVoy
Director, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)
Olivia Sundberg Diez
Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre


Jean-Louis De Brouwer
Director, European Affairs Programme, Egmont Institute

Even in normal circumstances, migrants are at greater risk of their rights being violated. The implementation of COVID-19 related restrictions as of mid-March this year has only exacerbated this vulnerability with migrants’ access to asylum, basic services, health care and education affected. The lack of protection available in reception and detention facilities for asylum seekers and migrants in irregular situations has also given cause for concern.

The European Commission recently published guidance on asylum, return and resettlement, calling on member states to, among other things, ensure continued access to asylum procedures. Against this background, what steps have member states taken to ensure the implementation of these guidelines? What can be done to ensure better access to health care and adequate accommodation for non-EU migrants? How should the measures taken and the growing discussion around regularisation, as seen in Italy and Portugal, be assessed? Lastly, what can be done to tackle the growing risk of discrimination and xenophobia due to COVID-19?  At a time when restrictions are slowly being lifted, many questions regarding asylum and protection remain open.

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