New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants: Draft resolution referred to the high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants by the General Assembly at its seventieth session (A/71/L.1) [EN/AR]

from UN General Assembly
Published on 13 Sep 2016 View Original

The General Assembly
Adopts the following outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants:

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants

We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 19 September 2016 to address the question of large movements of refugees and migrants, have adopted the following political declaration.

I. Introduction

1. Since earliest times, humanity has been on the move. Some people move in search of new economic opportunities and horizons. Others move to escape armed conflict, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, terrorism, or human rights violations and abuses. Still others do so in response to the adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters (some of which may be linked to climate change), or other environmental factors. Many move, indeed, for a combination of these reasons.

2. We have considered today how the international community should best respond to the growing global phenomenon of large movements of refugees and migrants.

3. We are witnessing in today’s world an unprecedented level of human mobility. More people than ever before live in a country other than the one in which they were born. Migrants are present in all countries in the world. Most of them move without incident. In 2015, their number surpassed 244 million, growing at a rate faster than the world’s population. However, there are roughly 65 million forcibly displaced persons, including over 21 million refugees, 3 million asylum seekers and over 40 million internally displaced persons.

4. In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development one year ago, we recognized clearly the positive contribution made by migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development. Our world is a better place for that contribution. The benefits and opportunities of safe, orderly and regular migration are substantial and are often underestimated. Forced displacement and irregular migration in large movements, on the other hand, often present complex challenges.

5. We reaffirm the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. We reaffirm also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recall the core international human rights treaties. We reaffirm and will fully protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status; all are rights holders. Our response will demonstrate full respect for international law and international human rights law and, where applicable, international refugee law and international humanitarian law.

6. Though their treatment is governed by separate legal frameworks, refugees and migrants have the same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. They also face many common challenges and have similar vulnerabilities, including in the context of large movements. “Large movements” may be understood to reflect a number of considerations, including: the number of people arriving, the economic, social and geographical context, the capacity of a receiving State to respond and the impact of a movement that is sudden or prolonged. The term does not, for example, cover regular flows of migrants from one country to another. “Large movements” may involve mixed flows of people, whether refugees or migrants, who move for different reasons but who may use similar routes.

7. Large movements of refugees and migrants have political, economic, social, developmental, humanitarian and human rights ramifications, which cross all borders. These are global phenomena that call for global approaches and global solutions. No one State can manage such movements on its own. Neighbouring or transit countries, mostly developing countries, are disproportionately affected. Their capacities have been severely stretched in many cases, affecting their own social and economic cohesion and development. In addition, protracted refugee crises are now commonplace, with long-term repercussions for those involved and for their host countries and communities. Greater international cooperation is needed to assist host countries and communities.