Commitment for greater cooperation in addressing global refugee crisis, at UN Summit
KUALA LUMPUR, 19 September 2016 (UNHCR) - World
leaders will gather today in New York for the UN General Assembly Summit on Refugees
and Migrants, where they are expected to adopt a set of commitments to enhance
the protection of refugee and migrants. These commitments will be known as the
New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants.
Summit is a historic opportunity to garner political will of world leaders to
save lives, protect rights, and share responsibility on refugee protection at a
world is witnessing a record number of people forced to flee their homes. At
the start of this year, 65 million people have been forcibly displaced
worldwide – the highest since World War II,” said Richard Towle, UNHCR
Representative in Malaysia.
and more refugees are moving in circumstances where their lives are at risk,
and their reception is overwhelming for countries on the front lines. At this
critical moment, what is needed is greater international cooperation and
burden-sharing among States, and between States and the UN.”
is currently hosting over 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, of whom 93% are
from Myanmar, and many have been in the country for decades.
positive changes in Myanmar means that for the first time in decades, there is
a unique opportunity to explore solutions for refugees from that country. To
achieve this, stronger cooperation between the Government of Malaysia and UNHCR
needs to be established,” said Towle. “In this context, UNHCR welcomes the
recent announcement, made by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi, of a
Joint Task Force for practical cooperation among Government agencies and UNHCR
in addressing refugee protection in the country.
believe that with strengthened cooperation between UNHCR and the Government of
Malaysia, we will be able to address legitimate concerns around law and order
and security concerning mixed migration. We can also identify solutions for
refugees to provide them greater safety and self-reliance, including access to
States in the General Assembly are expected to adopt the New York Declaration
which will reaffirm the rights of refugees and migrants, and pledge robust
support to those countries and communities affected by large movements of
people in a broader, and more systematic and sustainable way.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR
Why does this UN Summit matter?
a time of multiple global crises, and when large-scale movements of refugees
and migrants are challenging many countries – even stoking xenophobia in some
quarters – it is very significant that 194 Member States of the United
Nations are coming together to agree on a way forward to manage the challenges
adopted, the New York Declaration will be a significant milestone. In it,
States declare profound solidarity for people who are forced to flee their
homes; reaffirm their obligations to full respect of the human rights of
refugees and migrants; and States pledge robust support to those countries
affected by large movements of refugees and migrants.
Declaration includes commitments common to refugees and migrants, including:
combating exploitation, racism and xenophobia, savings lives en route, ensuring
border procedures follow due process and are in line with international law. It
also includes paying attention to the needs of women, children and those with
health care needs, recognising and facilitating the positive contributions of
migrants and refugees, ensuring they are part of development priorities, and
ensuring adequate, flexible and predictable funding.
addition, the Declaration sets out specific commitments in relation to refugees
and to migrants.
the refugee side, some of the specific commitments include increasing support
to the countries and communities hosting the largest number of refugees.
There are related commitments to boosting early childhood and primary and
secondary education for refugees, and creating jobs and income generation
schemes for refugees and host communities. There is also an emphasis on
expanding opportunities for resettlement or other forms of admission to third
Declaration also provides for a Comprehensive Refugee Response (CRR) Framework
to be applied in response to large scale refugee influxes or protracted
situations. This will be broader than a typical refugee response, bringing in a
range of stakeholders from the outset including local and national authorities,
humanitarian and development actors, the private sector and civil
society. The Framework also emphasises the importance of refugees
becoming self-reliant and addressing the needs of local host communities.
What does this mean for refugee protection?
New York Declaration is a reaffirmation of the importance and application of
the international protection regime — the 1951 Refugee Convention, human rights
and humanitarian law – at a time when there are record levels of forced
specifically acknowledge that the protection of refugees and assistance to host
states is a shared international responsibility, and not to be borne by host
countries alone. This is a critical development.
New York Declaration also signals a shift beyond a mainly humanitarian response
to refugee movements – usually in itself, severely underfunded – to a broader,
systematic and more sustainable response to help refugees and the communities
will mean working on several fronts at once: addressing humanitarian needs,
bringing in development actors sooner to help refugees and their hosts, and
starting the longer term planning for solutions beyond the emergency phase.
also very much welcomes the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis on 20
September convened by President Obama, which provides an opportunity for
governments to make concrete commitments in funding to humanitarian appeals and
international organisations, to admitting more refugees through resettlement
and other pathways, and increasing refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion
through work and education opportunities.
Format of the Summit
Summit will begin on 19 September with an opening plenary chaired by the
Secretary General and statements from high-level UN officials, including the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. There will be two parallel
plenary sessions for statements by Member States.
will be six roundtables dedicated to various refugee and migrant themes and a
closing plenary. A concurrent civil society meeting will be held from 10 –
addition to the formal one day formal session, a series of side events are being
organized between 13 and 23 September.
contacts on the Summit:
In Geneva, Ariane Rummery Rummery@unhcr.org
+41 79 200 7617
In Geneva, Melissa Fleming email@example.com
+41 22 739 7965
In New York, Jenifer Fenton firstname.lastname@example.org
+1 646 255 3054