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UNHCR/Igor Pavicevic

The Issue

There are unprecedented numbers of people on the move, through forced displacement, voluntary migration and flight from conflict, fragile and failed states.  Large flows of refugees and migrants have highlighted gaping deficiencies in current response mechanisms, with inadequate responsibility-sharing and the rights of those on the move often ignored.

Our Approach

We will help maintain the spotlight on the plight of refugees and migrants; challenging negative narratives, supporting multilateral mechanisms and improvements to existing structures. We will advocate holistic rights-based approaches and emphasise the benefits of migration. We will champion the need for compassion, tolerance and solidarity in response to vulnerable people on the move.  

UNHCR/Alessandro Penso

Our View on refugees and migration

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Supporting efforts to improve regional and international responses

We support international efforts to improve and systematise responses to the mass movement of people, such as the UN’s planned "global compact" on responsibility-sharing for refugees and the global compact on safe, regular and orderly migration. We urge the countries of the world to commit to binding targets to ensure that responsibility is truly shared.

 

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Enhancing assistance to major refugee-hosting countries

Most people fleeing conflict and persecution seek refuge in the closest possible safe haven and await the first opportunity to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. But the return of refugees to their home country is rarely rapid.

 

If refugees are to remain for a prolonged period in host countries, they must be provided a decent existence with realistic prospects of adequate food, water, shelter and healthcare, temporary employment and education for their children.

 

With the right policies, refugeees can help themselves and contribute to host societies.

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Increasing resettlement opportunities and additional pathways for admission

Governments cannot simply pay their way out of real responsibility-sharing. Resettlement is a tool for protection, a durable solution for refugees.

In the absence of pathways to admission, people seeking to flee conflict or hardship often have no option but to undertake dangerous, irregular journeys, handing their savings to criminal networks in order to cross borders. The world cannot decry people smugglers yet offer no viable alternative.

We urge the international community, particularly those who are better resourced, to show compassion and solidarity by taking in more refugees at this difficult time.

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Strengthening and upholding human rights and refugee protection

All migrants have human rights and should have their dignity upheld while on the move and in how they are received in other countries.

 

All countries have a responsibility to ensure that their border procedures protect human rights and are sensitive to the particular needs of women, children and others who may be at risk.

 

All those arriving, regardless of status, are entitled to due process of law in the determination of their legal status, entry and right to remain. In no cases are collective expulsions permissible.

 

We believe that the system is failing not so much because the rules are wrong but rather because states are applying them inadequately. The protection of refugees and migrants is a common good, for the safety and dignity of all humanity.

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