US hails Zim on refugees
THE United States has hailed Zimbabwe for welcoming refugees displaced from their countries due to conflicts in their countries, whose roots lie in American and European destabilisation of fragile states.
In a video posted on the US Embassy Facebook page on Monday, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Harry K Thomas Jr said: “To date, Zimbabwe has welcomed more than 9 000 refugees and we thank the Government of Zimbabwe for honouring its international commitments by providing a safe place for refugees.”
He made the remarks while announcing that US President Barack Obama was expected to host a summit on the refugee crisis on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting yesterday.
President Mugabe attended the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants on Monday where the leaders adopted a New York declaration that calls on countries to protect the human rights of the world’s more than 65 million refugees, increase humanitarian aid, help with resettlement, standardise responses and provide better education and employment opportunities for displaced people.
Ambassador Thomas Jr said, the goal of the Summit was to expand a humanitarian safety net and create more long-term opportunities for refugees.
“Displaced from their homes, families and communities, these are people who have experienced terrible loss, face uncertain futures and look to the rest of the world, to us for support and hope,” he said.
Addressing the world leaders at the UN meeting on Monday, President Mugabe said selfish interests of a few nations were the root cause of the large-scale displacement of people the world over.
He said the adoption of the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants was a step in the right direction in ensuring dignity for all.
President Mugabe said, “Over the past year, we’ve witnessed harrowing images of refugees risking their lives to flee the dire realities in their countries of origin. We’ve been equally shocked at the hostile reception refugees have often been subjected to.
“Against this background, we’re pleased at the convening of this important meeting that allows us to explore a collective blueprint for dealing with large movements of refugees and migrants. We’re also pleased that the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, highlights the importance of addressing the root cause of the large movements.
“We’ve noted that a large portion of refugees that have landed on European shores originated from countries in armed conflict such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
“We therefore are convinced that a return to the UN Charter ideals of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war and refraining from using armed force is critical in addressing the root cause of large movements of refugees.”
He said the predilection to military force by some countries had needlessly created a refugee crisis.
“More often than not, Member States have been too keen to resort to force without exhausting peaceful means. This hegemonic military doctrine and adventurism, fuelled by a desire to achieve the narrow national interests of a powerful few, is the root of the proliferation of armed conflicts which have spawned so many refugees today.”
“We’ve a collective responsibility to change the narrative on migrants and migration in our countries. Many countries owe their success in business and scientific prowess to the invaluable contributions of migrants and refugees.
“We commend those states that have, despite their own limitations, opened their borders to migrant communities. We, in Zimbabwe have hosted many refugees from conflict-affected countries. We call for a balanced focus on the humanitarian plight of migrants and refugees world over,” said President Mugabe who is in New York for the 71st UN General Assembly.
He is accompanied by First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Dr Walter Mzembi and other senior Government officials.
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