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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is increasingly concerned by the instrumentalization of refugees and migrants by states apparently to achieve political ends.

People are not, and should never be, pawns in geopolitical games.

When states encourage population outflows to neighboring countries, they create grave risks and compound the trauma and suffering of people fleeing. It drives risky onward movements, exposes people to potential exploitation, and can overwhelm reception capacities in other states.

The reported increase in this trend—in Europe and elsewhere—is deeply concerning.  

The right of every individual to access territory and seek asylum is a cornerstone of refugee law.

UNHCR appeals to all states to look beyond narrow political interests, assess the validity of asylum claims through fair and efficient procedures upon arrival, and extend meaningful protection to all those in need.

This fundamental responsibility to protect may be shared among states in a spirit of solidarity, but it should never be unilaterally transferred, outsourced, or manipulated for political ends.