UN holds first-ever sum­mit on refugees and mi­grants

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

UNITED NA­TIONS (AP): THE IS­SUE of what to do about the world’s 65.3 mil­lion dis­placed peo­ple takes cen­tre stage at the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly to­day when lead­ers from around the globe con­verge on New York for the first-ever sum­mit on Ad­dress­ing Large Move­ments of Refugees and Mi­grants.

With more peo­ple forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II, lead­ers and diplo­mats are ex­pected to ap­prove a doc­u­ment aimed at uni­fy­ing the UN’s 193-mem­ber states In this Au­gust 13, 2015 file photo, a man car­ries a girl in his arm as they ar­rive with other mi­grants just af­ter dawn on a dinghy, af­ter cross­ing from Turkey to the is­land of Kos in south­east­ern Greece. be­hind a more co­or­di­nated ap­proach that pro­tects the hu­man rights of refugees and mi­grants.

UP­HILL STRUG­GLE

“It’s very in­ter­est­ing be­cause if we are able to trans­late that pa­per into a re­sponse in which many ac­tors are go­ing to par­tic­i­pate, we will solve a lot of prob­lems in emer­gency re­sponses and in long-term refugee sit­u­a­tions like the Syr­ian sit­u­a­tion,” Fil­lipo Grandi, the UN’s High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees, told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

That may prove an up­hill strug­gle, how­ever, as the doc­u­ment is not legally bind­ing and comes at a time that refugees and mi­grants have be­come a di­vi­sive is­sue in Europe and the United States.

A num­ber of coun­tries re­jected an ear­lier draft of the agree­ment that called on na­tions to re­set­tle 10 per cent of the refugee pop­u­la­tion each year, some­thing that has led a num­ber of hu­man rights groups to crit­i­cise the doc­u­ment as a missed op­por­tu­nity. The US and a num­ber of other coun­tries also ob­jected to lan­guage in the orig­i­nal draft that said chil­dren should never be de­tained, so the agree­ment now says chil­dren should sel­dom, if ever, be de­tained.

“In­stead of shar­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity, world lead­ers shirked it. The UN sum­mit has been sab­o­taged by states act­ing in self­in­ter­est, leav­ing mil­lions of refugees in dire sit­u­a­tions around the world on the edge of a precipice,” Amnesty In­ter­na­tional Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Salil Shetty said in a state­ment.

AP

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