UN member states choose to fail millions searching for safety and dignity

Published: 9th September 2016

The disappointing outcome document for the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants has today been adopted as a UNGA Resolution. It falls far short of what is needed to address the global displacement crisis or protect people on the move.

Josephine Liebl, Policy Lead for Oxfam's Global Displacement Campaign, said: "Despite a few areas of progress, UN member states are failing to protect the millions of people searching for safety and dignity as they flee conflict and persecution. 

“In a few days’ time, world leaders will meet in New York for speeches, dinners and flashy events. Sympathy about this global crisis will be voiced, but words need action and not just for refugees and migrants, but for internally displaced people too. 

“Internally displaced people urgently need help, but governments are clearly stalling as they don’t fall within the confines of the refugee convention, despite being the largest group of people on the move. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, as the UN’s outcome document is called, also omits the action governments must take to share the responsibility for refugees. 

"We can only hope that world leaders use President Obama's summit to kick-start an improved global response, since the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants looks set to fail. Let's not forget: lives are on the line."

Notes to editors

1. The outcome document is formally called the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

2. At the summit itself on September 19th, there will be an event marking the adoption of the Resolution.

3. Oxfam is calling for all countries to be part of the solution to welcome and protect refugees, not close their borders and deny them a future. Instead of turning their backs on the suffering of millions of vulnerable people who have fled their homes, world leaders need to ensure that it is not just poorer neighboring countries shouldering the duty of protecting the vast majority of refugees. 

4. Rich governments need to increase resettlement places, expand other safe and legal routes to protection and support poorer countries financially. All host countries must ensure refugees have access to jobs, livelihoods and education and all governments must uphold the human rights for all people on the move. 

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