"Moment of truth to reaffirm EU values" urges UN High Commissioner for Refugees 

Press Releases 
Plenary session 
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for refugees addresses the plenary © European Union 2016 - EP  

Opening an extraordinary session with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on the occasion of International Women's Day, Parliament’s President Martin Schulz highlighted Parliament's continuous efforts to combat all forms of violence against women, be it in their home countries, when fleeing or upon arrival in the EU. Mr Grandi called on the EU to reaffirm its values and to reject “blanket” return policies without stipulating safeguard clauses.

Mr Schulz also paid tribute to human rights activist Berta Càceres and asked the Honduran government to do its utmost to find and sentence those who killed her.

Mr Grandi stressed that 20% of all families fleeing war in Syria are headed by women and that women travelling alone, pregnant or with children have outnumbered men since the start of 2016. "Girls and Women are disproportionally exposed to violence and sexual abuse by criminal networks and smugglers", he said, calling for safe asylum paths to avoid human trafficking.

Watch the speeches by EP President Martin Schulz and Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for refugees and Dimitris Avramopoulos for the Commission

Opening by Martin Schulz

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for refugees (1st part)

Filippo Grandi (2nd part)

Filippo Grandi (3rd part)

Dimitris Avramopoulos, for the Commission  

Statements by political groups:

Esteban González Pons (EPP, ES), GUILLAUME Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR), Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), Malin Björk (GUE/NGL, SE), Rebecca Harms (Green/EFA, DE), Rolandas Paksas (EFDD, LT) SALVINI Matteo Salvini (ENF, IT) and Lampros Fountoulis (NI, EL)