UN Secretary-General Urges Joint Action on Refugees and Migrants
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The UN Secretary-General has released his report in preparation for the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on the Large-Scale Movement of Refugees and Migrants, which will convene in September 2016.

Ban calls on UN Member States to uphold the safety and dignity of refugees and migrants, commit to a global compact on responsibility-sharing on refugees, and develop and adopt a global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration.

UNGA 2nd Committee - Economic and Financial20 April 2016: The UN Secretary-General has released his report in preparation for the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on the Large-Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants, which will convene in September 2016. Ban calls on UN Member States to uphold the safety and dignity of refugees and migrants, commit to a global compact on responsibility-sharing on refugees, and develop and adopt a global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration.

The report will be introduced by Karen AbuZayd, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General, in a briefing on 3 May 2016.

The report, titled ‘In Safety and Dignity: Addressing the Large-Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants,’ provides a global overview of trends, analyzes the causes of large movements of refugees and migrants, and discusses their specific needs while on the journey and when they arrive at their destinations. The report notes the frequent occurrence of discrimination and xenophobia against refugees and migrants, and calls for their human rights, safety and dignity to be protected.

The Secretary-General also notes with concern the growing trend to criminalize irregular movements, and reminds Member States that international law makes clear that asylum seekers’ use of irregular means of entry should not be held against them. He urges States to consider alternatives to detention for the purposes of immigration control, and to adopt a commitment never to detain children for this purpose.

The report also calls on Member States to move away from securitizing and closing their borders, and to move towards creating more opportunities for safe, regular and orderly migration, specifically by reviewing border management policies in light of the Recommended Principles and Guidelines for Human Rights at International Borders as developed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Crisis Operational Framework, and the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) 10-Point Plan of Action on Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration. Other recommendations in the report include a more predictable and equitable way of responding to large movements of refugees, through the adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration.

The High-Level Meeting takes place in New York, US, on 19 September 2016, immediately preceding the General Debate of the UNGA’s 71st Session. Co-facilitators Dina Kawar, Permanent Representative of Jordan, and David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, are leading consultations on the modalities for the HLM and the preparation of the outcome document. They expect substantive negotiations to begin now that the Secretary-General’s report has been released.

In the lead-up to the High-Level Meeting, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), UNHCR and IOM organized a multi-stakeholder meeting on ‘Understanding large movements of refugees and migrants.’ It focused on global trends and indicators, as well as impacts and responses, such as integrating migrants and refugees in national development planning. The meeting, which took place on 25 April in New York, US, was co-chaired by the Permanent Missions of the Netherlands and Thailand, and held under the auspices of the Global Migration Group. Speakers noted the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, and discussed environmental degradation and climate change as factors in migration and displacement. [Publication: In Safety and Dignity: Addressing the Large-Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants] [DESA News on Multi-stakeholder Meeting] [IISD RS Coverage of HLM Consultations]


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