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05 September 2016

A World on the Move: Where Migrants, Refugees and Experts Meet

Introducing IOM’s new podcast series

Geneva - Karen AbuZayd, Special Adviser on the UN Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants earlier today gave the keynote speech on the first day of the IOM Global Chiefs of Mission Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Previously on A World on the Move, the IOM-hosted podcast series where migrants and refugees share their experiences ahead of the UN Summit, Ms AbuZayd outlined how the high level event will strive to make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. In a fruitful discussion with the i am a migrant · i am a refugee community, she noted that while simply expressing a will was not enough, it was an important first step towards real change.

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IOM Director General William Lacy Swing (right) and UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson at IOM's Global Chiefs of Mission Meeting inaugural dinner in Geneva, Switzerland, 4 September 2016. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed, 2016

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s Remarks at IOM's 5th Global Chiefs of Mission Meeting Inaugural Dinner

Geneva - It gives me great pleasure to meet all of you and to offer some remarks at tonight’s inaugural dinner.  IOM’s Chiefs of Mission serve on the frontline. You see first-hand the challenges, as well as the achievements, of the ever important work in the field. I have personally, while on missions around the world, met many of you and very much value your work.

We meet at a historic point in time for both the United Nations and the IOM.  On the 19th of this month, at the Summit on Migration and Refugees in New York, we will formally sign the agreement which brings IOM into the UN system as a “related organization”.  This agreement will build on and strengthen our already close cooperation. 

The Member States of the UN and IOM deserve great credit for their wisdom and foresight in bringing our organizations closer together.

Let me also at the outset pay tribute to my good friend and colleague Bill Swing for leading IOM so well and wisely over the years. I commend him for skillfully guiding IOM through the process of joining the United Nations system. I have often talked about IOM being a cousin of the UN.  Now, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you into our UN family as sisters and brothers.

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Ruhul Amin, a Bangladeshi migrant worker, pauses as he sorts aluminium cans. The UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants recognizes that the treatment of refugees and migrants has been historically governed by different legal frameworks, but that they have “the same universal rights” and “similar vulnerabilities.” Photo: AP/A.M. Ahad

'Defining the Problem' Will Impact Summit Success in New York

Bill Frelick, director of Human Rights Watch’s Refugee Rights Program, writing in News Deeply calls for the protection of migrants “who do not qualify for international protection as refugees” in the lead-up to the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants on 19 September in New York.

New York – Presidents and prime ministers from around the world will descend on the United Nations in New York later this month for a special summit on the global refugee and migration crisis, the largest gathering of world leaders on the subject since the UN Refugee Convention was drafted in 1951.

The meeting is being held as the global population of displaced people has hit a record high. One in every 113 people in the world is either an asylum seeker, a refugee or displaced within his or her own country. But there are serious questions about whether the summit will produce any significant new solutions to the crisis. The first question is whether it even defines the problem correctly.

The 1951 Refugee Convention provides a narrow “well-founded fear of being persecuted” definition of a refugee that leaves out millions of migrants whose lives and freedom are also in danger, but for reasons such as indiscriminate violence from armed conflict, natural and human-made disasters and widespread human rights violations. A relevant and visionary gathering of world leaders would recognize the need to protect these vulnerable people.

Read on



Migration in the News

  • The Independent reported that children who survive the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean face a bleak future, as refugees and migrants arriving on Greek islands are detained under the threat of deportation.

  • The Independent, Washington Post, Christian Today and DW reported on the latest deaths and arrivals in the Mediterranean.

  • CNN reported on an Eritrean who gave birth to twins on board a rickety boat off the Libyan coast in late August.

  • RT reported that human organ traffickers are allegedly using prostitutes to tempt migrants into selling their organs in Egypt, while hospitals are helping to cover up the disturbing revelations, a report revealed.

  • New Business Ethiopia reported on the repatriation of 53 unaccompanied Ethiopian child migrants detained in Malawi while trying to reach South Africa.

  • Christian Science Monitor reported that as conflict drags on in South Sudan, the UN says that camps set up as temporary measures – and which house some 200,000 displaced people – are unsustainable.

  • New Strait Times reported that over 500 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been killed by a cholera outbreak since the beginning of the year.

  • Bangladesh’s reported on the upcoming UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

Trending on the Internet

  • The Guardian reported that UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said Britain looks forward to welcoming a new generation of Polish immigrants, after visiting a language school in Warsaw on Saturday.

  • Open Society featured photos of North African migrants living in limbo inside Athen's abandoned Columbia Records building.

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
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