UNGA adopts New York Declaration on Refugees, Migrants

UNGA adopts New York Declaration on Refugees, Migrants

World leaders have adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which expresses the political will to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.

This coming against the backdrop of Deputy President William Ruto criticising the international community for failing to address the refugee crisis in the world.

Speaking during the 71st United Nations General Assembly, Ruto said the humanitarian crisis had been mainly left to developing countries. This despite statistics indicating that 86 percent of the world’s 22 million forced migrants and refugees are hosted in 10 developing countries.

“Nothing can better demonstrate the failure of international burden-sharing than this reality. It is an indictment on the global framework for responding to human distress,” he said.

Following an announcement by Kenya to close the world’s largest refugee camp in Daadab, several high level meeting have taken place to discuss the way forward on the repatriation of refugees including President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and on the sidelines of UNGA, Deputy President William Ruto meeting with him as well.

Ruto indicated that the repatriation process was complex and required solidarity with the Somali people.

Back in 2012 during another session of the United Nations General Assembly, the international community pledged 50 billion shillings to meet the financial aspect of hosting refugees in Kenya but only less than 1 percent of that commitment has been realised.

“I urge the international community to collaborate strongly with the government of Somalia the construction and restoration of critical services in order to support repatriation and resettlement,” said the Deputy President.

By adopting the New York Declaration, member states are now making bold commitments: to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018; to develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations among others.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon congratulated member states saying the summit represents a breakthrough their our collective efforts address the challenges of human mobility.

A message that was echoed by the President of the UN General Assembly who urged members to maintain their high levels of ambition throughout these processes and to always reach for the higher ground.

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