NRV Member Ninah Amalo delivered the collective NGO intervention at the First Formal Consultation on the Global Compact on Refugees.
Dear Chairperson, distinguished delegates,
This intervention has been drafted following wide consultations with NGOs. We recognise UNHCR’s efforts towards the adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees, and appreciate the sustained engagement with the NGO community. We welcome the zero draft of the Programme of Action, a vital part of the Compact, and the opportunity to offer feedback. To start with general comments, we share the view that the Compact’s success will be determined by concrete improvements in the lives of refugees, stateless persons and host communities. To do so, the Compact will need to transform the international community’s approach to protection, assistance and durable solutions for refugees.
The Programme of Action should therefore be realistic, but also put forward collective ambitions and objectives. The Programme of Action’s commitment to the refugee protection regime is reassuring. We nevertheless expected stronger references to agreed normative frameworks, particularly to nonrefoulement, the core of refugee protection. The text also needs stronger references to essential human rights standards, including women and child rights, access to justice and proposed actions to prevent and resolve statelessness.
We appreciate that the zero draft underlines the need for predictable and equitable responsibility sharing, but we reaffirm that the word ‘burden’ does not reflect the opportunities and benefits refugees can generate. Moreover, we note that explicit reference to resettlement is missing from this part of the text, thus putting emphasis mainly on financial dimensions. We strongly believe that responsibility sharing should be a collective effort, exercised not just by interested States or those closest to humanitarian crises. Going more in details, a timeline for responsibility-sharing arrangements should be provided, starting with immediate measures that States could take, and build upon those to achieve longterm objectives. The international community must also affirm its obligation to address the root causes of displacement.
We also recognise efforts to build on the Sustainable Development Goals. To ‘leave no one behind’, refugees and persons of concern have to be included in national development plans. But we must also acknowledge that humanitarian assistance and principles will not always line up with national development strategies and emergency assistance must be prioritised when refugees and stateless persons are in urgent need of relief.
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