World leaders adopt Declaration to protect rights of refugees and migrants


President David Granger is currently attending the 71st Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA where he is currently participating in a high-level Summit on Refugees and Migrants.


The summit aims to address the movement of large numbers of refugees and migrants with the view of coming up with a framework for a better international response.


According to the United Nations, the World leaders came together to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.

President David Granger, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge and Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Audrey Waddell at the United Nations Headquarters in New York
President David Granger, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge and Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Audrey Waddell at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

In his remarks to the world leaders, the Head of State noted that Guyana supports the protection of the rights of all migrants and welcomes the process that this meeting will initiate for the convening, in 2018, of an intergovernmental conference on international migration with a view to the adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.


He noted that the Declaration offers a path towards addressing the problem of large movements of refugees and migrants, in a more coherent and comprehensive manner.


However, he called on the United Nations to bring an end to international terrorism, state and intra-state conflicts that are active, incipient and latent, adding that the declaration must be backed by these things since “Conflicts within and among states are mainly responsible for most of the mass movements of refugees and migrants that we are witnessing in the world today.”


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Member States saying: “Today’s Summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility.” He said the adoption of the New York Declaration will mean that “more children can attend school; more workers can securely seek jobs abroad, instead of being at the mercy of criminal smugglers, and more people will have real choices about whether to move once we end conflict, sustain peace and increase opportunities at home.”


“I will take forward the commitment of the membership to begin a process leading to a global compact on migration, as well as to support a global compact on refugees,” said H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly.


By adopting the New York Declaration, Member States are making bold commitments including: to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018; to develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.


As called for in the Declaration, the Secretary-General also launched a new campaign called “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” to “respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope”. He urged “world leaders to join this campaign and commit together to upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life.”

Also, today, the Secretary-General and the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration signed the new agreement by which IOM becomes a related organisation of the United Nations, thus strengthening the comprehensive global approach to migration.

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