European Union Declaration on the 50th Anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Brussels, 28 July 2001)

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the European Union, founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity, reaffirms its commitment to this unique instrument as the foundation of the international regime for the protection of refugees.

The European Union recalls its solemn declaration made at the Tampere Summit that the future Common European Asylum System must be based on the full and inclusive application of the 1951 Convention, and reaffirms its attachment to the absolute respect of the right to asylum, as recognised in particular in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The European Union calls on all States that have not yet done so to ratify the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol, and calls on those States which have made geographical limitations and others reservations to reconsider these, so as to ensure universal application of its provisions.

The European Union recognises the unique mandate of UNHCR and the importance of its efforts to protect, and promote durable solutions for, refugees and other people in need of international protection who are of its concern. It notes the significant importance for Contracting States to cooperate with UNHCR in order to facilitate its duty of supervising the application of the provisions of the Convention. The European Union stands ready to continue its partnership with UNHCR in order to ensure effective refugee protection and assistance.

On this auspicious day, the European Union reaffirms its strong commitment to assist and protect all those, men, women and children, who are compelled against their will to leave their homes and their country in order to escape fear of persecution and severe human rights violations.

28 July 2001