UNITED NATIONS, New York – Monday, 19 September 2016 – World leaders came together at the United Nations General Assembly today to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Member States saying: “Today’s Summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility.” He said the adoption of the New York Declaration will mean that “more children can attend school; more workers can securely seek jobs abroad, instead of being at the mercy of criminal smugglers, and more people will have real choices about whether to move once we end conflict, sustain peace and increase opportunities at home.”
“I will take forward the commitment of the membership to begin a process leading to a global compact on migration, as well as to support a global compact on refugees,” said H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly.“I will be urging Member States to maintain their high levels of ambition throughout these processes, and to always reach for the higher ground.
The fate of millions of refugees and migrants rests with us.”
By adopting the New York Declaration, Member States are making bold commitments including: to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018; to develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.
As called for in the Declaration, the Secretary-General also launched a new campaign called “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” to “respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope”. He urged “world leaders to join this campaign and commit together to upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life.”
Also today, the Secretary-General and the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration signed the new agreement by which IOM becomes a related organisation of the United Nations, thus strengthening the comprehensive global approach to migration.
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Highlights of the New York Declaration
At the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September, the Member States adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.
The New York Declaration expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale. Member States have made bold commitments both to address the issues we face now and to prepare the world for future challenges.
View the full text of the New York Declaration: http://www.un.org/pga/70/wp- content/uploads/sites/10/2015/ 08/HLM-on-addressing-large- movements-of-refugees-and- migrants-Draft-Declaration-5- August-2016.pdf.
What are the commitments?
These include, to:
- · Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the rights of women and girls and promoting their full, equal and meaningful participation in finding solutions.
· Ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival.
· Prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.
· Support those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants.
· Work towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status.
· Strongly condemn xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it.
· Strengthen the positive contributions made by migrants to economic and social development in their host countries.
· Improve the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to those countries most affected, including through innovative multilateral financial solutions, with the goal of closing all funding gaps.
· Implement a comprehensive refugee response, based on a new framework that sets out the responsibility of Member States, civil society partners and the UN system, whenever there is a large movement of refugees or a protracted refugee situation.
· Find new homes for all refugees identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement; and expand the opportunities for refugees to relocate to other countries through, for example, labour mobility or education schemes.
· Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration into the UN system.
What will happen next?
The New York Declaration also contains concrete plans for how to build on these commitments:
- · Start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. The agreement to move toward this comprehensive framework is a momentous one. It means that migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.
· Develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations. These guidelines will be particularly important for the increasing number of unaccompanied children on the move.
· Achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.
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