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“È necessario un incremento esponenziale della solidarietà globale verso i rifugiati” dice Ban Ki-moon insieme all’Alto Commissario per i rifugiati Filippo Grandi

SG and HC

31 mar - Alla Conferenza di alto livello sui rifugiati siriani a Ginevra, il Segretario Generale Ban Ki-moon ha incontrato l'Alto Commissario ONU per i Rifugiati Filippo Grandi e ha affermato che maggiori sforzi ed impegno sono necessari per il ricollocamento dei rifugiati e per dare loro un'adeguata assistenza. 

SG: High Commissioner Filippo Grandi and I have just taken part in an important meeting on sharing responsibility for Syrian refugees through pathways for admission. 

We are all aware that there is no substitute for a comprehensive and credible political settlement in Syria, and we welcome signs of progress towards that end.  My Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, has been doing everything possible to advance the negotiations.  To achieve early results, he requires the full and unified support of the international community.

We must send a clear message to all the parties that there is no military solution to the conflict, and that there is no alternative to negotiating a political transition that will lead to a new Syria.

And in the meantime, we must do everything possible to give hope to the millions of Syrian women, men and children who have been forced from their homes and their communities.

I have just arrived from visiting Jordan and Lebanon with the President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim.  These two countries together are hosting well over 1.5 million refugees.  I was also in Iraq, which hosts another quarter million refugees.

I was also in Tunisia; even though they [refugees there] are not Syrians, they [Tunisians] are also hosting almost a half million Libyan refugees.  So everywhere I went, there were refugees.

My meetings with Syrian refugee families were very moving. 

After five years of conflict, I was humbled and inspired to see that Syrian children are still singing songs, playing games and looking forward to better times, like any other children around the world.  I saw the hope in their eyes as they talked about their dreams for the future.  

We cannot let them down. 

We are facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time.  The world must rise to the challenge. 

Providing hope means providing pathways to a better future.  Neighbouring countries have done far more than their share. Others must now step up.

When the process is properly managed, resettling refugees is a win for everyone. 

Vulnerable children, women and men find safety and support.

For host countries, refugees can bring valuable new skills.  They are keen young students and workers, who are eager to learn and to contribute to their new communities and societies. 

Some of the world’s most successful economies were built on the famous refugee work ethic.  Others have realised that welcoming refugees provides the best way to safeguard economic success as their populations grow older. 

Attempts to demonize people fleeing conflict and persecution are not only demeaning, offensive and counterproductive.  They are factually wrong. 

And measures to control the entry of refugees must safeguard the human rights and dignity of each individual person. 

This is not a choice; it is an obligation under the Geneva Conventions and key international human rights treaties. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Success at this high-level meeting today will drive momentum in the months ahead.

I will convene the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May.  The Summit will be an opportunity for countries to show leadership in addressing the unprecedented levels of need in our world, including sustainable solutions for refugees. 

Then in the summer, on 19 September, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, just one day before the opening of the annual General Debate.

Our meeting today can set the tone for the year.

I call on all countries to demonstrate a true spirit of global citizenship and solidarity, and provide hope to Syrians in need.

HC: Thank you, Secretary-General.  I think the presence of the Secretary-General with us today at the opening of this conference is a very important signal of how crucial this process is.  And I just want to add a few words to what he already very eloquently said.

First of all, I think it’s important to look at this conference against a more global effort, in the context of a global effort that the international community is making to bring peace to Syria, and to help Syrians.  A global effort which includes, of course, the political process mediated by the United Nations, under the leadership of the Secretary-General and of his representative, Staffan de Mistura.  

Another very important component is aid to Syrians, especially in those countries that have borne the greatest responsibility for hosting Syrian refugees and that are present today, and have spoken today at the conference: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.  The London conference was the moment in which the international community rallied, and really made a special effort to add resources to a very under-resourced programme of assistance.  

And then of course, there is an ongoing process led by UNHCR to promote legal pathways for admission of Syrian refugees to third countries.  There was a conference, as you know, two years ago, in which places were pledged.  This is another stepping stone in that direction.  Our target, as you know, is to offer resettlement and other legal pathways to approximately – at least, I would say – 10 per cent of the Syrian refugee population.  So it’s about 480,000 people who we estimate are the very, very vulnerable among the refugees.  So far, pledges amount to 179,000.  More will be expressed today, hopefully.  And more will be expressed in the next few months.  The Secretary-General spoke about the important milestones this year, the World Humanitarian Summit; I would add the G7, the G20, all of them with a focus on the issue of refugees and of Syria, and then finally the summit in September, which is so important to address the problem globally.

I just want to add a couple of quick points.  One is: often this is called a resettlement conference.  Resettlement is one of the legal pathways, but we’re proposing to States many others, like scholarships, humanitarian visas, accelerated and easier family reunification, which is such a big problem for many refugees, visas for those with medical conditions, and so forth.  And we hope that through this array of options we will reach out globally.  Syrian refugees who have reached Europe carry a message which is very important: this is a global crisis that needs global responses.  

And my last point is to say that, of course, we focus today on legal pathways.  This does not exempt anyone from continuing to focus also on assistance where the refugees are and will continue to be in majority.  This was the London conference.  Pledges have to be realized from that particular conference, and also, solutions have to be everywhere and at every stage.  No State should be exempted to honour its responsibility in terms of providing asylum or a fair hearing for asylum to those refugees that reached directly their territories.

Q: In your speech, you said that Syrians are losing hope.  Don’t you think that they already lost hope as the international community failed them many times?  And how much longer should we wait?  How much longer do you think it’s going to take to find a solution for the Syrian crisis?  And how much longer are we going to fail them?

SG: I have been visiting refugee camps in all four neighbouring countries, including in Turkey.  My most recent visit to Za’atari camp, and also in Lebanon, really touched me very much.  Of course, when you meet them they are all frustrated.  While I was able to see some strong signs of hope and resilience, among the refugees in Za’atari camp, you will be able to see all signs of life: restaurants, shopping markets, or even art galleries, and sports gyms, even though poor, but they try to maintain their life without losing their hope.  One day, soon, they can be able to return to their homes.  That really touched me.  But at the same time, if you meet the people and try to see deeply their challenges, they cannot but be frustrated, and losing hope.   That’s the problem now.  That’s why we are convening this meeting, that’s why we are really trying to raise awareness of this so that it cannot be forgotten from the minds of the international community.

Since 2012, I have been convening a conference every year, three times in Kuwait, and this year in London.  We will have to continue.  Now, providing such support is a limited solution.  It’s not a durable solution, a sustainable one.  We have to bring the political dialogue to an end.  That is the only sustainable solution.  So I’ve been trying to give them a sense of hope.  I’ve been always saying, never despair, have a strong hope.  I was like you, many years ago, 65 years ago.  That time, the United Nations came.  Everything I ate, I was wearing, I was reading, all came from the United Nations.  As the United Nations was with me at the time, the United Nations will be with you.  That’s a message of hope to those people.   

I really appreciate the Turkish Government and I really appreciate this agreement between the European Union and Turkey.  Even though one may not be totally satisfied with this agreement, that’s a good beginning, that’s showing great sense of  commitment by world leaders.  And the main purpose of this meeting is to renew our commitment and give those refugees hope.

Q: The United States, Great Britain, France and Germany have proposed other sanctions on Iran to discuss in the UN Security Council, because Iran has launched ballistic missiles recently.  Would you support this and how do you comment on this?  How would this affect the whole situation in Iran now?  

SG: With the nuclear deal, Iranians were able to be lifted from these Security Council sanctions which had been imposed upon them.  Now, out of this agreement now Iranians launched ballistic missiles.  It is true that that has caused alarms and concerns.  But what kind of sanctions, what kind of measures should be applied, is up to the Security Council members.  They are the ones who will analyse whether this ballistic missile launch will be a violation against the terms and references and resolutions of the Security Council, or what kind of measures would be taken.  I expect the Security Council will be carefully discussing this matter.

[SG departs]

Q: I’d like to know what makes you believe you’re going to have a generous response today, because already with the relocation plan you have in Europe it hasn’t worked.  Now you have the EU-Turkey deal, with 72,000 places too, that wants to be heard.  And then you have big countries like China, Russia, the Gulf that don’t really take many refugees.  So what makes you believe that you’re going to get a positive response?

HC: Well, I hope we will.  And if we don’t get precise figures today, like both the Secretary-General and I said earlier, we hope that in the next few months, when there will be more opportunities, States will be able to open up to more legal pathways.  Let me stress again: resettlement, which is perhaps the main legal pathway, is utilized by a certain number of countries like Canada, the United States, many European countries, Australia, but it is not a practice in other countries.  That’s why we are offering alternatives that, I believe, countries are studying and I’m sure that they’ll step up to our request as the months go by.  This is not a single-day process, this is a longer process.  

I would like to add one important point.  The European countries and Turkey have been discussing for some time how to stem the flows into Europe.  Part of that deal is precisely a larger resettlement or humanitarian admission programme.  I understand that there is still some discussion on how and when to implement it, because European countries are saying, first we have to see that direct flows into Europe are decreasing, and then we will implement this programme.  We will have to see how this evolves in the next few days.  

Our point to both Turkey and the European Union, and in fact to the international community, is that legal pathways for admission are a very powerful alternative to dangerous journeys, especially for vulnerable people.  So, the sooner those are implemented, the more people will be discouraged from resorting to boats and other means of movement.  So, it’s a bit the chicken and the egg, but we are really insisting that the sooner we implement a very large admission program, the better it will be for everybody, because resettlement and these forms of legal admission are the most organized and the safest way to move people from one country to the other.

Q: In the 12-point programme of Mr. de Mistura, there is also bringing back refugees to Syria.  It’s not yet clear at what point, but what do you say to this?

HC: Yes, we have spoken this morning a lot about solutions such as assisting people where they are, or stabilizing flows, proving legal pathways.  This should not make us forget – and thank you for the question – this very important point: the best solution, and actually for sure, the solution preferred by most refugees, is to go back home.  But that has to be voluntary.  People would have to be able to choose when they go back home.  And I can assure you – I’m sure that you all appreciate that – people will not go home until they feel safe to do so.  So, it’s still very early days, and surely this is what Mr. de Mistura meant, is that once peace prevails again in Syria, people will then feel encouraged to go back.  It’s difficult to say when, you heard the Secretary-General; this is a process, but when that process progresses to the point when people feel confident, I am sure, for having met many refugees in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Jordan and other countries, that they will opt for voluntary and safe returns.  And we will be there to help them at that point as well.

Per maggiori info, clicca qui. 

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