Statement by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the Paris meeting of 28 August
“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes commitments made today at the Paris meeting on migration and asylum.
I am encouraged by the announcement of a comprehensive plan of action that will support long-term solutions to the complex issue of mixed migration and help address its root causes, in close cooperation with countries of origin and transit and in line with international law.
In UNHCR’s experience, measures that simply aim at curbing the number of arrivals do not solve the problem of forced migration. Any meaningful approach must include a set of strong and determined actions to ensure a lasting peace in conflict-ridden countries as well as social and economic development in places of origin.
I am pleased by the renewed commitment to support rescue efforts for those in danger at sea and in the desert. Saving lives has to remain central to the response, along with resolute action against smugglers.
Many of those on the move are people fleeing war or persecution. I welcome the affirmation from several States today of the need to provide them with international protection. Ensuring access and strengthening asylum is fundamental in all countries of asylum and transit. Political stability and security in Libya are especially important to enable proper access to thousands of refugees and migrants stranded in the country. Most are currently suffering from severe abuses of human rights and unacceptable living conditions.
The pledge to provide more resettlement opportunities for people in need of international protection from all regions along the central Mediterranean route and to speed up the EU relocation process from Italy and Greece is most welcome. Complementary pathways are also needed, including facilitating family reunification. These are all positive steps forward that need to be promptly implemented and expanded.”