World leaders came together at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday 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.
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.“I will be urging Member States to maintain their high levels of ambition throughout these processes, and to always reach for the higher ground. The fate of millions of refugees and migrants rests with us.”
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 organization of the United Nations, thus strengthening the comprehensive global approach to migration.