Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens
On 19 September 2016, the UN General Assembly held a one-day Summit on «Addressing Large Movements o Refugees and Migrants» and set a new agenda for responding to large movements of people crossing frontiers. The UN resolution is called The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. It has as an annex a plan of action "Towards a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration" setting out a framework for positive responses. The New York Declaration builds on a 2013 UN conference and on the efforts of both the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Migration and the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the Human Rights of Migrants.
Just one year later, the world society continues to face the issues of refugees from areas of armed conflict and serious tensions as well as with the ways to deal in an adequate fashion with migration
The Association of World Citizens has
been actively concerned with the issues of migrants, refugees,
the «stateless», and those displaced by armed conflicts
within their own country. Thus we welcome the spirit of The
New York Declaration with its emphasis on cooperative action,
a humane sense of sharing the responsibilities for refugees and
migrants and on seeking root causes of migration and refugee
flows. There are three issues mentioned in The New York Declaration
which merit follow up action among the UN Secretariat, world
citizens and other non-governmental organizations:
The Migration of Youth
Studies have noted an increasing femanization of trans-frontier migration in which the female migrant moves abroad as a wage earner, especially as a domestic worker rather than as an accompanying family member. Migrant domestic workers are often exposed to abuse, exploitation and discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and occupation. Domestic workers are often underpaid, their working conditions poor and sometimes dangerous. Their bargaining power is very limited. Thus, there is a need to develop legally enforceable contracts of employment, setting out minimum wages, maximum hours of work and responsibilities;
The Association of World Citizens recommends that there be in the follow ups on The Declaratin a special focus on youth, their needs as well as possibilities for positive actions by youth.
The strong link between migration, refugee flows, and improving the structures for the resolution of armed conflicts.
The United Nations General Assembly currently in session is facing the need for action on a large number of armed conflicts in which Member States are involved. In some of these conflicts the United Nations has provided mediators; in others, UN peace-keepers are present. In nearly all these armed conflicts, there have been internally-displaced persons as well as trans-frontier refugees. Therefore there is an urgent need to review the linkages between armed conflict and refugee flows. There needs to be a realistic examination as to why some of these armed conflicts have lasted as long as they have and why negotiations in good faith have not been undertaken or have not led to the resolution of these armed conflicts. Such reflections must aim at improvements of structures and procedures.
Developing further cooperation among non-governmental organizations for the protection and integration of refugees and migrants.
We welcome the emphasis in The New York Declaration on the important role that non-governmental organizations play in providing direct services to refugees and migrants. NGOs also lobby government authorities on migration legislation and develop public awareness campaigns. The Declaration has stressed the need to focus on future policies taking into account climate change and the growing globalization of trade, finance, and economic activities. Thus, there needs to be strong cooperation among the UN and its Agencies, national governments, and NGOs to deal more adequately with current challenges and to plan for the future. Inclusive structures for such cooperation are needed.