Tuesday, 21 November 2017

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Secretary-General Convenes High-Level Meeting on Migration, Refugee Movements

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29.9.2015 – The issue of migratory and refugee movements has moved centre stage at the UN as a result of growing concern about those who take to the migratory route. They include people fleeing poverty and inequality, as well as those escaping war and human rights abuses.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has convened a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters on migration and refugee movements.  All Member States have been invited at the highest level to the event, which will be held on Wednesday, 30 September, at the side-lines of the high-level segment of the seventieth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The event will provide an important opportunity for Member States to discuss the challenges and responsibilities, as well as the opportunities, that large migrant and refugee movements bring. 

A group of refugees are walking from the Hungarian train station towards and into Austria. Photo UNHCR Florian Rainer“Long-term strategies and commitments are needed, combined with action across a wide range of policy areas,” Mr. Ban said.  “Migration can be well-managed and refugee movements can be governed in an efficient and principled manner through effective cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination.  The international community must develop a response that is effective, feasible and in line with universal human rights and humanitarian standards, including the right to claim asylum.”

At the opening of the 7th session of the United Nations General Assembly, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing warned that growing anti-migration sentiment in Europe is unnecessarily endangering the lives of migrants, while ignoring the overall benefits that migration has historically provided to the world.

With populist leaders and elements of the media increasingly portraying migrants in a negative light, IOM points out that fear of the unknown is deepening community divisions and endangering the very people seeking a better or safer life. Delegates at the General Assembly must recall that migration fuels growth, innovation and entrepreneurship in both countries of origin and destination, Mr Swing said.

The United Nations high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, said on Saturday the world waited far too long to respond to the refugee crisis sparked by the wars in Syria and elsewhere, though rich countries now appear to understand the scale of the problem.

"One of the reasons that refugees started to move in such big numbers was because international assistance declined," he said, adding that Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon would need billions of dollars in assistance to cope with the refugees.

"Until we had this massive movement into Europe, there was no recognition in the developed world of how serious this crisis was," he said. "If, in the past, we had more massive support to those countries in the developing world that have been receiving them and protecting them, this would not have happened."

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UNRIC's Related Links:

•   UNHCR: Skilled Syrians join refugee exodus
•   UNHCR: Refugee or migrant – words do matter
•   UN General Assembly: Seventieth Session

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