Secretary Kerry Urges Additional Action at #UN4RefugeesMigrants Summit

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the United Nations High-Level Plenary Meeting on Refugees and Migration. During the meeting, which convened during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the Secretary applauded the organization for hosting the timely meeting during the unprecedented movement of refugees and migrants.

Speaking against a backdrop of an estimated 65 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes -- including more than 21 million people who have fled across international borders -- Secretary Kerry made clear to the group of international leaders that additional efforts are urgently needed.

Secretary Kerry underscored that it is in the world’s best interest, and it is the right thing to do, to to ensure people who desperately need a new home can actually find a place to live in safety, with food, medicine, school. Recognizing that the task of providing such refuge too often falls on states directly embroiled in strife and neighboring nations, Secretary Kerry made clear: “The responsibility to assist is shared by all. So we have to do our part to try to end wars, to oppose violent extremism, to respect human rights, and to support policies that humanely and effectively manage the flow of people who are on the move.”

The United States is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to create such norms. Secretary Kerry outlined, “We have established rules for political asylum, voluntary repatriation, resettlement, and local integration. And we have reaffirmed the principle that the impartial aid workers ought to be granted unfettered access to deliver emergency assistance to civilians who are trapped in areas of conflict.”

Addressing the global refugee and migrant crises around the world is a key tenet of the United States’ focus on humanitarian issues at the 71st Session of UNGA. As the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II, global humanitarian aid efforts are underfunded and our humanitarian system is stretched to the breaking point. This is why President Obama will host a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations headquarters on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

The Leaders’ Summit on Refugees complements the UN General Assembly’s high-level meeting on refugees and migrants, held today, and is the culmination of a sustained effort to bring new energy and commitments to bolster and expand the global response. It is intended to broaden the donor base and secure significant new commitments, including financing of humanitarian appeals and increased opportunities for resettlement, education, and employment for refugees from around the world. ​

Emphasizing this challenge, Secretary Kerry noted, “...the gap between the funds that we have and the funds that we need remains enormous. Today, the United States remains the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance and refugee relief, and we are proud of that. But we would be even more satisfied if the need were ended.My country has now resettled more refugees through UNHCR’s resettlement program than all other nations combined. But we are far from satisfied about that too.”

As he concluded remarks, Secretary Kerry expressed the United States’ determination to continue to put its best effort forth as well as to work with our partners around the world to create more opportunities for refugees. In particular he noted the need to provide more fully for the special needs of women, children, and other vulnerable segments of the population as well as to provide additional support to countries that are on the front lines of humanitarian crises.

For More Information:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks at the General Assembly Event on Refugees and Migrants, at the United Nations Economic and Social Council Chamber, in New York City, New York on September 19, 2016. [State Department Photo]
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 19, 2016

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