What Ban Ki-moon report for the World Humanitarian Summit can bring to the migrant and refugee crisis in the Euro-Mediterranean region?

In such global report, the diplomatic culture of the United Nations does not name countries. It addresses all crisis. Nevertheless, the interpretation of numerous paragraphs clearly points out the responsibilities of European Heads of States and Governments in the way they mismanage the migrant and refugee crisis. Herewith a short selection among the 64-page document:

ban ki mini“The large number of people fleeing conflicts, violence and persecution across borders in the past few years has found countries ill-prepared, and in some cases unwilling, to handle such influxes of people, resulting in increased suffering and death for those desperately seeking safety and a new life. Borders have closed and walls have gone up, while those countries that have generously opened their borders have been overwhelmed.” (§86)

(…) [States] “should expand and guarantee safe and legal pathways for family reunification, work and study related mobility, and where necessary, humanitarian visas and protection for those who do not fall under the 1951 Refugee Convention. We also must ensure migrants and their specific vulnerabilities are more effectively integrated into humanitarian and other response plans. And we must cooperate effectively to fight human trafficking and migrant smuggling; the latter by ensuring legal pathways; we should not criminalize migrants and erect barriers” (…) (§92)

The United Nations Secretary General concludes in calling upon global leaders: “place humanity – the concern for the dignity, safety and well-being of our citizens – at the forefront of all policies, strategies and decision-making. Take more initiative to prevent and end conflicts, putting the appropriate national capacities and resources behind these objectives. Increase the number of staff working on peace, conflict resolution and prevention. Bring other leaders together to find solutions, and invest in international cooperation and a stronger United Nations. Stand up for values and respect for the rules we have agreed upon, and show the courage to look beyond short-term election cycles and political mandates. Leaders of the 21st century must think beyond borders and national interests.” (§172)

The priorities of the Agenda for humanity are clear, and they belong to all: “The community of ‘we the peoples’ – Governments, local communities, private sector, international organizations and aid providers, and the thousands of committed and compassionate individuals assisting in crises and disasters every day – will only succeed if we work with a unified sense of purpose to end crises and suffering.” Five core responsibilities are clearly described, and in the third one “Leave no one behind” (page 56), the section A, calls for a shared responsibility for addressing large-scale movements of refugees:

  • (…) “Develop a new cooperation framework on predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing to address major refugee movements.
  • Reinforce the principle of non-refoulement and the importance of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

(…) Ensure adequate support to host countries and communities

  • Provide adequate long-term and predictable international political and financial support to host countries and communities, where needed, including for housing, employment, education, healthcare and other vital public services.”

(…) The section B. addresses “migrants’ vulnerabilities and provide more regular and lawful opportunities for migration:

  • Agree on a comprehensive response to human mobility, based on partnerships among States, international organizations, local authorities, private sector and civil society.
  • Integrate migrants and their specific vulnerabilities into humanitarian and other response plans (…)

In its global dimension, one of the red thread of the UN report prepared for the World Humanitarian Summit is about children. Paragraph 78 is appalling: “in 2014, children constituted 51 per cent of the refugee population, the highest percentage in more than a decade. About half of the world’s refugee children are missing out on primary education and three quarters do not have access to secondary education. Conflict-affected countries are home to over 20 per cent of all children of primary school age, but account for around half of all out-of-school children of that age. Two-thirds of youth in developing economies are not studying or gaining vocational training and skills and are without work or engaged in irregular or informal employment. Years of enduring conflict and exposure to violence and displacement, often paired with abuse and marginalization, can leave adolescents with extreme psychological stress, at risk of exploitation and engagement in political violence. (…)

The increasingly young societies in developing countries combined with high youth unemployment makes specific work programmes, education and migration policies vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda, including building peaceful and inclusive societies.”

Read more

The Report of the Secretary General for the World Humanitarian Summit

World Humanitarian Summit website

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