European Response Towards the Refugees and Migrant Crisis: A Year Of Action And Respect To Human Rights

Refugees from Ukraine enter Poland at the Medyka border crossing. © UNHCR/Chris Melzer

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ukwu Nowga Annabel and Ms. Ademeta Esther Oluwafeyisayo, two third year medical students at Sumy State University Ukraine. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The recent refugee crisis exemplifies Europe’s current uncertainty and failure to control illegal migration, and it highlights the unavoidable gap between the nation state’s prerogative to exclude undesirables and the inclusive logic of fundamental human rights. Addressing global health inequalities requires a human rights-based approach to health. Human rights guidelines may benefit health professionals’ practice, which is governed by ethical codes, particularly in situations of dual loyalty where clients’ or the community’s human rights are threatened.

Furthermore, institutional accountability for human rights protection is required to avoid shifting responsibility solely onto health professionals. The European Parliament has been working to improve border controls and member states’ tracking of people entering Europe. The Integrated Border Management Fund [IBMF] was established by members, with € 6.24 billion allocated to it in order to strengthen EU countries’ border management capacities while also ensuring human rights protections. The commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum on September 23, 2020, which brings out faster and more advanced procedures throughout the EU’s Asylum and Migration system.

There are some basic ways in which we can respect human rights while also addressing certain issues concerning health, social, and economic rights. Such methods are possible;

a. Protection Against Discrimination;

Is it possible for human rights law to adequately address implicit racism and gender discrimination? This question is addressed in this article through an examination of the European Court of Human Rights case S.A.S. v. France (2014), which concerns the ban on the Islamic and Indian full-face veil, which is referred to as a terrorist or a thief by women who wear it. The approach to rights, on the other hand, refers to a lack of sensitivity to empirical data concerning how those approaches inadvertently erode the protection against discrimination of vulnerable groups, such as Muslim or Indian immigrant women.

b. Digital Technology;

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of UN Human Rights’ digital transformation. There are three transformation vision components; integrating new technologies into our human rights work, leveraging data to support our human rights mission, and ensuring a strong, secure digital environment for our work and students’ lives. We can accomplish this by improving the evidence base to support all aspects of our online work, meetings, and classes to promote and protect human rights.

c. Non- Retrogression;

States should not allow the existing protection of economic, social, and cultural rights to deteriorate unless there are compelling reasons to do so. For example, imposing school fees in secondary education, which was previously free, would be a deliberate regressive measure.

To summarise, there are various ways in which we could make 2022 a better year, but we must first address how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected our human rights, as well as work on several ways to acknowledge the changes that need to be made.

About the authors

Ukwu Nowga Annabel is a Sumy State University third-year medical student and writer. She has worked in a variety of organizations and is currently the local coordinator of the European Medical Students Association(EMSA) in Sumy and was previously the organization’s general secretary. She is looking into different ways to improve on the things she does, and can’t wait to gain more experiences.

Ademeta Esther Oluwafeyisayo is  a human right activist and currently a third year medical student at Sumy State University Ukraine. She loves studying, traveling, writing articles and learning new things. She attended Federal Government Girls college Akure where she graduated with distinctions and represented the school in various competitions. Her first co-written article on “Female Genital Multilations[FGM] “which was published by British Medical Journals [January 2022]was recently released. She is interested in global health issues and enjoys writing and publishing on them.

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