Geneva (AFP) – The United Nations on Tuesday urged states not to “backtrack” on pledges made to host migrants and refugees, including from Syria, in the wake of the attacks in Paris.
Multiple UN agencies issued a warning to European leaders who might use the tragedy to advance anti-migrant policies, stressing that many of those seeking refuge in Europe have also been the victims of extremists.
Of the estimated 1.1 million migrants who have landed in Europe via the Mediterranean since 2013, less than six “have raised questions in terms of possible links to extremism,” said International Organization for Migration spokesman Joel Millman.
Millman noted that the IOM, which received that information from individual governments, has no evidence that any of those people were ever involved in acts of violence.
French sources have said that a passport found near the body of one of the Stade de France suicide bombers may have belonged to a Syrian — possibly an ex-government soldier — who registered on the Greek island of Leros on October 3.
Using that information as a pretext to curb migration by vulnerable people into Europe could prove disastrous, UN representatives said.
“We are concerned about the reactions from some states to end programmes being put in place, backtracking from commitments made to manage the refugee crisis,” said UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.