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.