World leaders on Monday adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, expressing their political will to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.
The New York Declaration was adopted at the United Nations General Assembly meeting currently ongoing in the United States.
By adopting the New York Declaration, Member States made 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, develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations and achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting.
They will also support the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.
After the Declaration was adopted the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr 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 would 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”.
As called for in the Declaration, the Secretary-General also launched a new campaign called; “Together, Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”.
The campaign was launched 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”.
The Secretary-General and the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration signed the new agreement by which IOM became a related organisation of the United Nations, thus strengthening the comprehensive global approach to migration.
A statement by spokesperson for the United Nations Department of Public Information, New York, Sunil Narula, quoted the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Peter Thomson, as saying that he “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”.
“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,” he stated.
Highlights Of New York Declaration
Highlights of the New York Declaration are commitments 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.
It also shows commitment to ensuring that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival, preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence, supporting of those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants and working towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status.
The Declaration also strongly condemns xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it, strengthens the positive contributions made by migrants to economic and social development in their host countries and 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.
It will ensure the implementation of 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.
Other highlights are; to 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.
The New York Declaration also contains concrete plans for how to build on these commitments. It will kickstart 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 and it means that migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.
It will also help in the development of 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.
It will help 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.