THE United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has said that it is “deeply concerned” by reports that one of the attackers involved in the Paris massacre may have entered Europe as a refugee.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that one of the attackers, Ahmad Al Mohammad, who died in a suicide bombing at the Stade de France, was found with a Syrian passport, which he used to cross the Greece border.
A spokesperson for UNHCR, Melissa Fleming, wrote on Tuesday: “Asylum and terrorism are not compatible with each other,” adding that the UN was urging states to erect “an effective reception, registration, and screening mechanism”.
Ms Fleming said that the UNHCR was also worried that some states were “backtracking from commitments” to addressing the crisis, or “proposing the erection of more barriers”.
“We are deeply disturbed by language that demonises refugees as a group,” she said. “The security problems Europe faces are highly complex. Refugees should not be turned into scapegoats, and must not become the secondary victims of these most tragic events.”
Concerns were raised this week after it emerged that about 100 Syrian refugees were due to come into the UK in the coming days. The first refugees are arriving on charter flights to Glasgow Airport from refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and other countries bordering Syria, having fled the war-torn country.
Responding to the concerns on Tuesday, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, said that all refugees would be “thoroughly screened” to protect the country against a terror threat. Ms May said that the UK was operating “good levels of security”, which included a compulsory two-stage security screening process for all refugees.
“We always retain good checks at our borders in relation to people coming in.”