NRV Member Mohammed Badran delivered the fifth collective NGO intervention at the Fourth Formal Consultations on the Global Compact on Refugees.
This intervention reflects a diversity of views among NGOs. Overall, NGOs acknowledge that the Solutions section now better integrates gender concerns although AGD considerations could also be strengthened. Attempts to link this section to responsibility-sharing mechanisms are positive.
We particularly welcome proposals on pledges towards resettlement and pathways and calls to support local integration. More specifically, we are encouraged to see non-refoulement added in relation to voluntary repatriation. We also appreciate the new language underscoring that voluntary repatriation is the preferred solution in the ‘majority of refugee situations’, not primarily of all refugees.
However, we remain concerned by the assertion that “voluntary repatriation is not necessarily conditioned on the accomplishment of political solutions in the country of origin”. Incentives and penalties are sometimes used to coerce refugees’ consent to return, often leading to added instability in countries of origin and further displacement.
Voluntary repatriation is also predicated on child-friendly, gender- and disabilityresponsive information-sharing on protection risks, helping informed decision-making. Finally, we suggest adding details on tripartite agreements to ensure this tool is updated to bring additonalities. In situations where refugees freely chose to return, support for countries of origin is vital.
We welcome invitation for peacebuilding, development and humanitarian support. We underline, however, that in countries of origin, humanitarian actors often face tremendous access constraints. As such, there is an urgent need to ensure unfettered access for humanitarian actors; increase unearmarked and multiyear humanitarian funding; and to underline the ‘do no harm’ principle. When providing support to countries of origin, it is vital to respect and increase local capacities.
Read the full text here.