The Board of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) today appointed Morten Kjærum as Chair for an initial three year term. Mr. Kjærum replaces Andreas Kamm, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council, who led the ECRE Board for the past six years.
Morten Kjærum is currently Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Lund, Sweden. A Danish national, Mr. Kjærum is the immediate past Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and in 1991 was the founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
“I am honoured to be appointed ECRE Board Chair, but am aware that I undertake this position during an unprecedented situation in modern times. The EU and its institutions have the possibility to be the deciding factor for hundreds of thousands of people seeking refuge and protection, but only if the Member State show unity. Lack of solidarity between some European countries has given increased significance to the critical work of civil society organisations and volunteers, who have long been the backbone of the European asylum system. ECRE, as the pan-European alliance of refugee-assisting NGOs, plays an increasingly important role in working toward European policies and practices that provide dignity and respect to those seeking stability and a new life after fleeing war or persecution. I am pleased to be back at ECRE, as I was part of this unique platform in the early days. Now it’s high time for all of us to step up and make a difference; the role of ECRE and the contribution of its outstanding members has never been as important as now,” said Morten Kjærum.
“We are very pleased to welcome Morten back to our pan-European alliance of 90 refugee-assisting organisations, and are confident that with his wide experience and expertise in international human rights law he will make a significant contribution to our mission,” said Michael Diedring, Secretary General of ECRE. “We are extremely thankful for the outstanding work of Andreas Kamm over the last six years. His counsel and expert guidance have paved the way for a smooth transition.”
Mr Kjærum’s appointment is effective immediately.