The UN General Assembly Summit addressing large movements of refugees and migrants will take place next Monday, 19th September, and it is set to adopt a series of key commitments to enhance protection of human rights. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expects the Summit to be a ‘game changer‘ with potential to improve protection policies addressing those forcibly displaced or otherwise on the move.

According to UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming, the commitments were already agreed on 2nd August 2016. Once adopted at the Summit, they will be known as the New York Declaration, containing annexes on refugees and migrants that will serve as the basis for future compacts.

The UN Refugee Agency perceived the Declaration to be a “significant milestone” once adopted, as it contains the State’s declarations of solidarity towards those who are forced to flee their homes, reaffirming their obligations and commitments to fully respect the human rights of refugees and migrants.

The declaration includes not only important commitments to refugees and migrants, such as combating exploitation, racism and xenophobia and ensuring border procedures according to international law, but also highlights on expanding opportunities for resettlement or other forms of admission to third countries. 

“[The Declaration] also includes paying attention to the needs of women, children and those with health care needs, recognising and facilitating the positive contributions of migrants and refugees, ensuring they are part of development priorities, and ensuring adequate, flexible and predictable funding.”

Melissa Fleming, UNHCR Spokesperson

The Declaration is set to provide a Comprehensive Refugee Response (CRR) framework to be applied in response to large scale refugee influxes or protracted situations, bringing in a range of stakeholders from the outset including local authorities, civil society and the private sector. Ms Fleming has also noted that the broader framework to be applied emphasises the importance of refugees becoming self-reliant and addressing the needs of local host communities.