Yesterday, the 19th of September 2016, world leaders came together at the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants – a declaration that expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants.
By adopting the New York Declaration, UN Member States are making bold commitments to: develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; start negotiations of an international conference and the adoption of a global agreement for safe and orderly migration in 2018; and lastly, to hold more responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.
Within the New York Declaration, a joint initiative aimed at increasing private sponsorship of refugees has been agreed upon between the Government of Canada, the Open Society Foundations, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Since the 1970’s, the Canadian government has promoted the resettlement of more than 275,000 privately sponsored refugees, and even currently helping to support and integrate many refugees in Canada’s recent Syrian resettlement program. Privately sponsored refugees have been shown to have positive settlement results as well as relatively early integration within the communities due to the increased support from their private sponsors. Using Canada as a model, the United Nations hopes to increase private sponsorship of refugees throughout the globe.
In addition to the New York Declaration, the Secretary-General of the United Nations also launched a new campaign as a response to the rising xenophobia called: “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The campaign highlights the economic, cultural and social contributions that migrants and refugees make to countries of origin, transit and destination. It will also counter misinformation and misperception of refugees and migrant by encouraging contact between migrants, refugees and those in the destination countries. He urged world leaders and UN member states to join this campaign as a commitment of upholding the rights and dignity of all refugees searching for a better life.
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