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UNHCR welcomes historic commitment by States to more equitable and predictable responses to refugees

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UNHCR welcomes historic commitment by States to more equitable and predictable responses to refugees

4 August 2016 Also available in:

Following five months of negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday (2 August) agreed by consensus upon a political declaration with two annexes which will pave the way for global compacts on refugees and migrants respectively in 2018.  

The New York Declaration for refugees and migrants and related documents are to be adopted by Heads of State, Government and other High Representatives attending the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants on 19 September.  UNHCR stands ready to support the historic high-level commitments contained in the agreement.    

“The negotiation process was clearly not an easy one, but we commend Member States for their hard work in reaching consensus on such a complex and urgent issue,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.  

“The message from the negotiations is clear:  no one government can address large-scale movements of refugees on its own.  International cooperation is the only way forward.” 

The political declaration includes a reaffirmation of basic principles of international refugee law and responsibility-sharing for refugees, and represents a solid basis on which to develop more coordinated – and more equitable – comprehensive responses to future large-scale refugee movements, as well as to existing protracted refugee situations.  

The Global Compacts – to be adopted in 2018 -- will  affirm the commitment to greater responsibility-sharing based on a comprehensive refugee response framework in the case of refugees, and set out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions, in the case of migrants.

UNHCR looks forward to initiating the consultation process envisioned in the outcome document that will lead to the development and adoption of a Global Compact on refugees in 2018 based on the overarching framework for a comprehensive refugee response outlined in Annex I. 

The commitment to strengthen international governance of migration is also heartily welcomed by UNHCR, along with last week’s decision by the General Assembly to bring IOM closer to the UN.

UNHCR looks forward to engaging with Member States and a broad range of partners to implement the commitments made.   


Media contacts: 

Ariane Rummery, Geneva, +41 79 200 7617

Firas Kayal, New York, +1 212 963 9145, +1 (917) 847 3702