Joint briefing on “The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants: One Year On”

– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, Joint briefing on “The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants: One Year On”

 

Thank you Under-Secretary-General. Let me also thank SRSG Arbour and High Commissioner Grandi for organising this briefing.

It is important for us all to be fully aware of the progress, and perhaps setbacks too, as we work towards the adoption of the Global Compacts.

I want to acknowledge the commitment of the Secretary-General to the success of both these instruments. We know that the situation of refugees and migrants holds a special place in his heart.

I also wish to recognise the two co-facilitators of the inter-governmental consultation process, the Ambassadors of Mexico and Switzerland, who have ably led the process so far.

Last year’s adoption of the New York Declaration was a major accomplishment. We embarked upon a process to adopt two Global Compacts – one on migration and one on refugees.

Both processes are progressing steadily.

This week also marks the one year countdown until both Global Compacts are to be adopted. We therefore need to continue the momentum created over the past year.

Last year we reaffirmed our obligations to protect the human rights of refugees and migrants and agreed that more needs to be done to uphold our responsibilities.

Through various consultations over the past year, we have strengthened our understanding of the issues. We have also built trust and partnerships amongst many within our societies.

Now it is time to focus on tangible results that directly bring change to people’s lives. We must build on the momentum to turn our commitments into collective action.

One focus of my Presidency is people, and another is human rights. People do not lose their human rights when they move. It is essential that we uphold the human rights of all people.

People do not lose their human rights when they move. It is essential that we uphold the human rights of all people.

MIROSLAV LAJČÁK

President of the UN General Assembly

Whether movement is by choice or force, each of us is fundamentally the same. We all have hopes and aspirations for the future. People want to be productive and contributing members of society – to build better futures – be it at home or away.

Regardless of the term – refugees, migrants and other displaced population – there are common elements that affect all people on the move. We must ensure that both Compacts put people first and thus are complementary and coherent.

It is up to all of us to work collectively and to show leadership in upholding the values of the United Nations.

As outlined in my opening statement at the General Assembly, it is our job to help people strive for peace and a decent life – all people.

And to do that we need to be both anchored in reality and driven by ambition.

The UN system and our Governments will be judged on how we respond to people’s needs in this interconnected world.

As we move forward during the coming Session, let us put our shoulders to the wheel as we seek pragmatic solutions for the challenges of today and the years ahead.

Declaration

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