IOM Welcomes UN Member State Consensus Ahead of Summit on Refugees and Migrants

Switzerland - Paving the way for the 19 September Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, Member States at the United Nations in New York, on 2 August, reached consensus on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

The Summit will be the first such Head of State gathering on refugees and migrants in the United Nations, and provides a historic opportunity to improve the international community’s collective response. 

It is taking place against a backdrop of unprecedented human mobility around the world, coupled with protracted situations of displacement in many countries, and the dangerous rise of anti-migrant sentiment, xenophobia, racism and discrimination. 

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing noted that it was encouraging that Heads of State and Government would now be able, on 19 September, to make commitments and pave a course to significantly improve the lives and well-being of migrants worldwide, and to improve the governance of migration.

“I  commend the member states for their expressed commitment to fully protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status, and their pledge to combat with all the means at their disposal the abuses and exploitation suffered by countless refugees and migrants in vulnerable situations,” he said.

“I also applaud them for acknowledging a shared responsibility to manage large movements of refugees and migrants in a humane, sensitive, compassionate and people-centred manner, through international cooperation. In these times of unprecedented migration across the globe, we must ensure there is global commitment to a more orderly migration that benefits all, where we celebrate the human beings behind the numbers,” he added.

Ambassador Swing also welcomed the New York Declaration’s strong condemnation of acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants, and the stereotypes often applied to them, including on the basis of religion or belief. 

The formal adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at the September Summit will set in motion a process of intergovernmental negotiations leading to the planned adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018.  IOM is pleased that the Summit will likewise begin a process for a Global Compact on Responsibility Sharing for Refugees, to be led by UNHCR in consultation with governments, which IOM fully supports.

For IOM, the objective of a Global Compact on migration should be to substantially enhance international cooperation on migration, and to foster the implementation of national policies that recognize migration is a reality that, if well managed, generates substantial development benefits for migrants and societies alike. 

The focus should be to ensure that migration is a matter of genuine choice and not a desperate necessity; that the rights of migrants are secured; and that governments manage migration fairly, comprehensively and humanely, including through the establishment of adequate safe, regular and orderly channels for migration, in fulfillment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda for migrants and on migration. 

IOM looks forward to working with all its partners to develop the Global Compact over the coming years, and hopes that the process will result in governments adopting a ‘high-road’ approach to migration.

This is one in which facilitating, not restricting, migration is the priority; which sees migration as a process to be managed rather than a problem to be solved; which strives to expand the possibilities for people to realize their human development aspirations and potential through mobility; which reduces the incidence and impact of irregular migration; and enhances the development impact of migration for home and host societies alike.

 For further information, please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41792857123, Email: