US hails Zim on refugees

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Lloyd Gumbo Harare Bureau

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.

See Com­ment on Page 4

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