Refugee Crisis Addressed

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, addressed the Security Council on November 2, invited by the Italian presidency.  He addressed the fact that the refugee situation in our world is an deepening crisis, noting that among the more than 65 million displaced persons today we can find groups who are more recently displaced and those who fled their homes more than 40 years ago. While the situation of those displaced by the conflict in Syria is in the daily news, other regions face similar situations:  Africa, Central America and the Middle East.

Grandi pointed out five areas where the Security Council can be engaged with addressing today’s refugee crisis.  The first area is prevention, addressing and helping resolve situations than may lead to persons fleeing their homeland.  The second is to protect civilians in situations of conflict, engaging with and supporting peacekeepers in this effort.  The third is to address complex migration issues in countries of origin, transit and asylum.  The fourth is helping to establish sustainable peace, which will give displaced persons the possibility of return to their homes.  The fifth and final area is the importance of protecting refugees in their host countries, without encouraging a premature return which might lead to more destabilization.

One important step toward a more comprehensive response to the refugee situation is the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, accepted by all the UN member states in September 2016, who committed themselves to improve the ways displaced persons are protected.  It incorporates a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework whose objectives address the needs of host countries, the importance of refugees’ self-reliance and the need to work with countries of origin to help in safe return with dignity.  The next step will be the adoption of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration which will be presented for a vote in 2018.