UN Summit We’re 'living on the edge of hell' - speakers demand UN action

The Declaration recognized that in 2015 alone, the number of migrants had surpassed 244 million, in addition to roughly 65 million forcibly displaced persons, including more than 21 million refugees, 3 million asylum seekers and over 40 million internally displaced persons.

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Opening of UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants play Opening of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
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The General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants this week, mapping a route towards a collective, rights-based response to record displacement numbers around the world.

The meeting of world leaders adopted the declaration which is set to provide assistance to the burgeoning numbers of refugees and migrants through the world.

The Declaration recognized that in 2015 alone, the number of migrants had surpassed 244 million, in addition to roughly 65 million forcibly displaced persons, including more than 21 million refugees, 3 million asylum seekers and over 40 million internally displaced persons.

In a release on the UN website, it was stated that in endorsing the 90-paragraph Declaration, Member States agreed to a set of commitments, among them acknowledging a shared responsibility to manage large movements of refugees and migrants in a humane, sensitive, compassionate and people-centred manner. They agreed to do so through international cooperation, while recognizing the varying national capacities and resources in responding to those movements.

Also by the Declaration, the Assembly underlined the importance of working collectively and, in particular, with origin, transit and destination countries, noting that “win-win” cooperation in that area would have profound benefits for humanity.

The declaration’s two annexes outlined a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, as well as a comprehensive refugee response framework, the release said.

Describing the grim situation of people who were both stateless and stuck, Mohammed Badran of the organization Syrian Volunteers in the Netherlands, declared: “We are living on the edge of hell.”

Every day brought anger and fear directed at refugees, and many doors were closed while the international community continued its inaction as crisis followed crisis.

“We have been waiting for so long for the day that the world would hear our voice,” he said.

“Refugees are already taking action; we want world leaders to do the same.” He expressed hope that actions would be taken to keep refugees from having to put their lives on hold.

play UN Photo/Cia Pak (Mohammed Badran. )

 

Nadia Murad Basee Taha, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, shared her perspective as a refugee who had fled from areas controlled by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).

Describing herself as a survivor of the Yazidi genocide, she recalled that when Da’esh had attacked, they had killed men and enslaved women. “I wished that the rapes I endured by 12 terrorists were 12 bullets in my flesh,” she said. “We have to address the causes of immigration, eradicate terrorism and stop instability.”

 Until security was established in conflict areas, the international community must keep borders open to innocent women and children, she said, declaring: “The world has only one border; it is called humanity.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, reflected on the reasons behind convening today’s meeting, saying “the bitter truth is, this summit was called because we have been largely failing”. The focus can not be "reduced to speeches and feel-good interviews”, he said.

Throughout Monday, 19 September, almost 200 Heads of State and Government, senior officials, representatives and observers agreed that countries must together embrace a robust action plan to address the needs of refugees and migrants and fight against the xenophobia they faced.

Ghana's Minister for the Interior, Prosper Bani was at the UN summit. During discussions, he said Ghana had long-term experience with internal migration, as well as flows of immigration and emigration. 

He said the root cause to much migration in Ghana was due to spatial inequalities, he not.

He also said Ghana had joined other countries to increase international cooperation with regard to global migration flows, and was focused on a job solution strategy, in order to maximize productivity for sustainable incomes and livelihoods, he explained, underlining that his country’s national migration policy addressed human rights and safe passage of refugees and guaranteed the right of Ghanaians to migrate.



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