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N.Y. Declaration on refugees and migrants - paradigm shift or business as usual

by Ann Mary Olsen, Danish Refugee Council | Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark
Friday, 16 September 2016 10:16 GMT

International Director for DRC Ann Mary Olsen and head of delegation in New York

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* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The refugee and migrant summits on 19 and 20 September, which will include the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at the UN High-Level Meeting, could potentially mark a new era of commitment and solidarity at the highest political level to uphold the rights of refugees and migrants. However, it will require strong, brave and visionary political leadership at the national level to fulfill these commitments.

The world is faced with more than 21 million refugees, almost 41 million internally displaced, 3.2 million asylum seekers and increasing flows of mixed migrants caused by conflict, repression and poverty. This grave trend is further fueled by climate change and the disasters and pressure on resources they leave behind.   

“The UN High-Level meeting and the Summit hosted by US. President Obama confirms that the international community is waking up to the realization that this is not a passing challenge but a new reality. However, the response has not yet matched the challenges. The support for the poor and unstable countries hosting the vast majority of the world’s displaced is inadequate, the routes to Europe are dangerous and the access to seek protection is limited – we hope the New York declaration marks a new beginning,” says Ann Mary Olsen, International Director and head of delegation for the Danish Refugee Council in New York.      

The displacement challenges facing the world today are highly complex and multiple solutions are needed. However, they all require political commitment.

“We need a full implementation of the laws and standards ensuring the protection of the fundamental rights of refugees and migrants. We need real global solidarity to ensure a more equal sharing of responsibilities and we need the strategies and resources to ensure sustainable solutions and to address the root causes of increasing displacement and forced movement – this can only be provided by commitment from national politicians across the globe,” says Ann Mary Olsen.          

The Danish Refugee Council will participate in both the UN High-Level Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants and the Leaders Summit on Refugees, hosted by US. President Barack Obama, which will focus on strengthening the international response to the global refugee crisis and extending long term, durable opportunities for refugees. 

Ann Mary Olsen is the International Director for DRC and head of delegation in New York