Sana Mustafa, Founding Member, Network for Refugee Voices
The zero draft of the Global Compact on Refugees in its current state reads like a list of recommendations and best practices, without suggesting actionable or concrete solutions. The draft calls on the international community to meet the “needs” not “rights” of refugee and host communities and stays away from issues like refugee human rights and access to justice.
The Programme of Action makes extensive recommendations related to “voluntary repatriation” but nonrefoulement is not mentioned in the document. The Compact must reinforce and add to the refugee protection regime in place and take a rights-based approach to new solutions.
As The Network for Refugee Voices, we are happy to see that the zero draft recognizes the need to consult refugee communities in these processes; this is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. Refugee self-reliance requires refugee participation in designing and implementing these policies; we should be empowering refugee-led initiatives and including refugees in decision-making.
We acknowledge our responsibility to do our part to make this document as ambitious as possible. We look forward to collaborating with member states and stakeholders to ensure the GCR is practical, effective and sustainably implemented.
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The Network for Refugee Voices Call for Refugee Participation in the Negotiation of the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees
[24 January 2018] A delegation of the Network for Refugee Voices concluded a two-day visit to Geneva where they spoke at the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response’s high-level conference on ‘Participation is Power: Keep it, Share it or Give it away?’ and met with policy makers, humanitarian organizations and the UN Refugee Agency.
Throughout the visit, the representatives of the Network for Refugee Voices pressed for refugee participation in the upcoming negotiations of the Global Compact on Refugees. In particular, the Network for Refugee Voices reiterated to the representatives from UN Member States that only direct input from refugees can ensure sustainable and effective refugee policy that will benefit refugees as well as host-communities.
Commenting on the visit, Osama Salem, founding member of the Network for Refugee Voices said: “We are pleased to finally see Member States calling for the participation of refugees in the discussions that affect them the most. We hope other key stakeholders will soon follow their example and ensure that refugee-led organizations’, such as the Network for Refugee Voices, voices are heard in refugee policy negotiations”.
During the Conference - facilitated by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response - which focused on the implications of a shift in power away from organisations providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by crisis, the Network for Refugee Voices set out its recommendations on how to reform the humanitarian system and the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis, to prioritize the empowerment of beneficiaries.
“Participation must be seen as a human right. INGOs must shift their focus to engage affected communities; beneficiaries must be represented at all levels of policy design, implementation and coordination. This human rights based approach will not only increase the impact of programs, but will also improve integration,” concluded Adam Elsod, founding member of the Network for Refugee Voices.
The Network for Refugee Voices recommendations for the Global Compact on Refugees can be found in the Network’s non-paper which was submitted to UNHCR during the tenth annual High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges in December 2017 to ensure that the Global Compact on Refugees and its Programme of Action are ambitious, effective and sustainable.
The horrors of Aleppo continue to shock the world and the war has displaced millions. Syrian activist Mohamed Alsaud calls on the EU to involve the Syrian diaspora and the refugees themselves in efforts to tackle the issue at stake.
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Syrian Refugee Calls For Refugee Inclusion At UNHCR Thematic Discussion "Towards a Global Compact On Refugees"
On 10 July, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) held the first thematic discussion of the Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact will be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 and impact the lives of refugees around the world. Iyad Kallas, Syrian refugee, representative of the Network for Refugee Voices, and the only refugee to address the assembly called for inclusive discussions on refugee policy.
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A year after the New York declaration, Refugees Deeply asked a delegation of refugees what impact it has had so far and where it has fallen short.
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Read the NRV's Declaration: http://www.unhcr.org/5975a8a82e5.pdf