The number of persons forced into exile or refugees has never been so high [fr]
BRIEFING BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
STATEMENT IN NATIONAL CAPACITY
BY MR. NICOLAS DE RIVIERE
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
New York, 18 June 2020
First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the UNHCR personnel for their outstanding work to protect refugees and defend their rights. You know the commitment of France to the unconditional respect for the right to asylum.
As you reminded us, Mr. High Commissioner, the number of persons forced into exile or refugees has never been so high. I am thinking in particular about the Sahel, and notably Burkina Faso, where the number of internally displaced persons has more than quadrupled in less than a year.
A sharing of responsibilities in a spirit of solidarity must be the guiding principle of our action. Hosting refugees is not only an international obligation, but also a moral duty. It is the responsibility of States to protect on their territory foreign nationals who have fled their country due to persecutions. Only a global and collective approach will allow to improve the overall care of refugees, lead to a better management of migration flows, and fight effectively against migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
That is why the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees is a priority. France is actively working towards the implementation of its commitments taken at the Global Refugee Forum, notably regarding resettlement, with 10,000 places for 2020-2021, legal cooperation and the inclusion of climate and environmental criteria in its Humanitarian Strategy. We call on all States to step up their efforts.
Refugees and displaced persons are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to the suspension of asylum procedures in many countries, an accelerated pace of returns even if the conditions were not fulfilled, and an increased stigmatization. Refugees are also highly exposed to the socio-economic impact of this crisis. We must be vigilant and integrate refugees and displaced persons in national and international strategies to respond to the pandemic.
It is up to the Security Council to create the conditions of a lasting solution to crises. Insecurity and massive violations of Human Rights are the first causes of displacements. When it comes to Syria, Venezuela, Libya or Myanmar: only political solutions will allow a long-lasting stabilization of these countries and address the challenges due to displacements of populations.
Lastly, we will not compromise on the fundamental principles regarding the return of refugees: returns must be voluntary, in safe and dignified conditions.