On the 19th and 20th of September, world leaders gather at the United Nations (UN) for two major summits on the global refugee crisis – a summit of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) plenary to address the large movements of refugees and migrants co-chaired by the Governments of Jordan and Ireland and a Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis convened by President Obama.
This paper outlines recommendations from CARE International, a non-governmental organization with 70 years’ experience supporting people displaced by wars and natural disasters. The very origin of our organization was in ordinary citizens of the United States mobilizing to send ‘CARE packages’ to people displaced during World War II. Over the past year, we have provided assistance to millions of refugees in contexts as diverse as Germany, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey, Kenya, DRC and the Balkans.
This year’s summits take place at a moment at which, across the world, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. Developing countries host the vast majority of the world’s refugees. With a few honorable exceptions, developed nations have frequently responded in a shameful fashion – failing to provide safe and legal routes to claim asylum, instead erecting walls and barbed wire fences. Wealthy states do not lack the resources or capacity, they lack political will. This short-sightedness and pandering to misinformed and xenophobic stances on the issue risk a wider unraveling of international frameworks on refuge protection and human rights.
All world leaders have an opportunity in September to demonstrate true leadership and commit to carrying out two new “global compacts” on refugees and migrants that share the responsibilities between states on a fairer basis and treat people with humanity. We urge all states to ensure that these negotiated “compacts” reflect the attached recommendations, and to make national commitments based on them at the September Summits.