World Leaders Approve U.N. Refugees Declaration
World leaders at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York approved a declaration to provide a more coordinated and humane response to the global migration crisis.
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants was approved Monday morning by the 193 member states present for the first summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.
The declaration urges countries to protect the human rights of refugees, increase their spending on humanitarian aid and boost the resettlement of more of the world’s 65.3 million displaced people. Specifically, it calls on member states to standardize the global approach to the migrant crisis and supply refugees with more jobs and education.
“Today’s summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling on leaders to commit to “upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life,” according to an Associated Press report.
However, human rights groups have been critical that the declaration does not contain any concrete commitments and is not legally binding.
After some countries rejected an earlier draft that urged them to resettle 10 percent of the refugee population each year, Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty said that “instead of sharing responsibility, world leaders shirked it,” and that the U.N. summit “has been sabotaged by states acting in self-interest, leaving millions of refugees in dire situations around the world on the edge of a precipice.”
President Obama to Secure Pledges in Second Summit
On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama will host a leaders summit on refugees on the sidelines of the General Assembly, intended to obtain specific commitments from governments around the world.
The United States is attempting “to get countries to do things they would not otherwise have done” at the meeting being co-hosted by Canada and several other countries, said Samantha Power, the country’s ambassador to the U.N., on Friday.
The Associated Press reported that at least 45 countries could be expected to “make pledges that are in line with U.S. goals of increasing humanitarian aid by $3 billion, doubling resettlement and increasing access to education for 1 million youngsters and access to employment for another million of the displaced.”
Theresa May to Warn of ‘Uncontrolled Mass Migration’
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May was set to warn the General Assembly of “uncontrolled mass migration” and suggest a plan to deal with the “unprecedented levels of population movement,” according to British media.
The Guardian reported that May will “argue that it is not in the interests of the migrants to be exposed to exploitation and danger as they cross borders, nor the interests of the countries they are leaving, traveling through or seeking to reach. She will say that mass population movements reduce resources and popular support for refugees.”
The prime minister will also argue that there should be better distinctions between refugees and economic migrants, and that “refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and stress that nations have a right to control their borders and a responsibility to prevent illegal and uncontrolled migration,” said The Independent.
- Foreign Policy: The Refugee Crisis Is Real
- Devex: What Will Obama’s Refugee Summit Accomplish?
- The Washington Post: Here’s What Ordinary Arabs Think of the Syrian Refugee Crisis
- The Independent: The Child Refugee Crisis Has Reached a New Low – We Must Act Now