U.N. Holds First Summit On International Refugee Crisis

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For the first time in their more than 60-year history, the United Nations General Assembly is holding a summit devoted to the issue of international refugees and immigration.

On Monday, world leaders are meeting in New York for the summit called Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. They will be discussing a 22-page document that outlines how countries in the U.N. should deal with the situation, including protecting migrant rights. In order for the agreement to pass, all 193 countries will have to approve it, which has proven to be a difficult sell.

“It’s very interesting because if we are able to translate that paper into a response in which many actors are going to participate, we will solve a lot of problems in emergency responses and in long-term refugee situations like the Syrian situation,” the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Refugees, Fillipo Grandi, said.

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At a time when more people are being forced to leave their home countries because of violence than during World War II, the international community is dealing with the situation in different ways. There were an estimated 65.3 million displaced people at the end of 2015 including 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers, and 40.8 million migrants according to statistics from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The White House recently announced a plan to increase the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. by 30 percent to 110,000, while Australia has refused to allow any refugees on their shores. Meanwhile, the European Union is bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis with people from the Middle East escaping violence.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is quoted as saying, “You hear all around the world the U.N. hasn’t handled the refugee crisis. The way the U.N. will handle the refugee crisis is if all of us countries within the U.N. step up and dig deep and face those political headwinds that we all face, to do more, to give more, to take on a greater share of the resettlement challenge.”

As of yet, it is unknown whether the 22-page agreement will pass, but either way, simply holding a summit dedicated to understanding and facing the ongoing refugee crisis shows that the world is finally ready to take comprehensive, unified action to save lives and resettle those in need.

 

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About the author: Evan Vitkovski

 

An American writer, filmmaker, journalist, and blogger living in Taipei, Taiwan. So many stories to tell, so little time.

 

Recent posts in International

 

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