One of the most contemporary pressing challenges facing the international community is that of the increasing instances of displacement and the rising number of refugees worldwide.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. Of these, 84 per cent of are hosted in low and middle-income countries facing their own challenges. There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.
Non-Aligned Movement has taken cognizance of the rising problems faced by refugees worldwide due to displacement. NAM acknowledged the Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 3 October 2013, which decided inter alia, to work towards an effective and inclusive agenda on international migration that would integrates development and respects human rights; to address the opportunities and the challenges that international migration presents to countries of origin, transit and destination; and calls upon all stakeholders, within their respective mandates, to strengthen their collaboration and cooperation to better and fully address the issue of international migration and development, in order to adopt a coherent, comprehensive and coordinated approach.
During the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku on 25-26 October, 2019 the Heads of State and Government of NAM Member States took a specific focus on refugee problems. As the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, the NAM Member States addressed a number of cases involving flow of refugees, particularly due to instability and crises in different parts of the world. In Baku Final Document, the NAM Member States recalled with appreciation the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted in September 2016, by virtue of which, the General Assembly decided to develop an intergovernmental process, which started in 2017, towards a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, and a global compact on refugees. In December 2018, the two global compacts – developed through separate but complementary processes, were affirmed by the General Assembly.
The Global Compact on Refugees is built on the existing international refugee instruments, and puts in place a new set of arrangements to drive and resource the new comprehensive refugee response model. It calls for a longer-term perspective that already works towards solutions from the outset of an emergency. It envisions more predictable and sustainable support to ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand access to third-country solutions, and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.
NAM recognised the importance of constructive engagement in intergovernmental negotiations that lead to the adoption of global compact for safe orderly and regular migration and has encourage all States to participate at the highest possible level in this Conference.
At the first Global Refugee Forum that took place in December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland and which the Swiss Government co-hosted the event with UNHCR, Mr. Vusal Huseynov Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that the NAM Member States attached particular significance to the Global Compact on Refugees as a representation of political will of the international community to operationalize the principle of responsibility and burden-sharing. He remarked: “The Non-Aligned Movement considers this Forum as a unique platform for sharing of good practices by the UN Member States and other stakeholders, and is looking forward to successful deliberations aimed at ensuring effective implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees.
In this regard, the NAM Member States express their readiness to explore options for further development of cooperation with the UNHCR and other UN humanitarian agencies”.
NAM Member States are of the view that the measures to alleviate the sufferings of refugees must be accompanied by dedicated efforts of the international community, as a whole, to address the root causes of the problem with a view to expediting durable solutions.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur