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World gathering on refugees opens in Geneva after ‘decade of displacement’

World gathering on refugees opens in Geneva after ‘decade of displacement’

The first-ever Global Refugee Forum (GRF) was co-organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The event took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16-18 December, the UNHCR official site reports.

The Global Refugee Forum’s aim is to elaborate on new methods and long-term commitments from a variety of actors to help refugees and the communities in which they live. The refugee problem is global, over 70 million people are displaced by war, conflict, or persecution.

UNHCR is co-hosting the Forum together with Switzerland, and it is being co-convened by Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Germany, Pakistan, and Turkey.

According to the official data, more than 25 million of them are refugees, having fled across international borders and unable to return to their homes. The GRF at the Palais des Nations, the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva, became the platform for generating new approaches and solutions of the problem.

During the three-day Forum, refugees, heads of state and government, UN leaders, international institutions, development organizations, business leaders and civil society representatives were working together.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that all nations are emerging from a decade of displacement during which refugee numbers have surged.

“This Forum is an opportunity to attest our collective commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees and rally behind the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals of leaving no one behind.”

The contributions made at the GRF are expected to include follows:

  • financial, technical, and material assistance;
  • legal and policy changes to enable greater inclusion of refugees in society;
  • resettlement places, and
  • the safe return for refugees.

The third world countries need more financial support

Joelle Hangi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the GRF’s co-sponsors, stressed in his speech that already there are many examples of cooperation – but with refugee numbers rising. Thus, governments, companies, and communities should share the responsibility of helping refugees.

“That is how we will regain our freedom and independence, and repay those who came to our aid,” Hangi added.

The good signal for the UNHCR is an increasingly important role of the private sector, more than 100 companies and foundations are attending and are set to make pledges around jobs, finance and other assistance.