Governments Reject U.N. Plan to Resettle Refugees

NNA – U.N. member states have rejected a U.N. proposal to resettle 10 percent of the world’s refugees annually as part of a new global effort to tackle the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

A document adopted late Tuesday failed to include the resettlement proposal from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that would have been the centerpiece of a U.N. summit on refugees in New York on September 19.

Human rights groups voiced disappointment, dismissing the document as a meaningless political declaration and warning that the September gathering of world leaders was shaping up as a missed opportunity.

Ban’s adviser on the summit, Karen AbuZayd, said, however, that she was “very pleased by the agreement” and was looking forward to negotiations on a new global compact for migrants to begin next year.

Under Ban’s proposal, world leaders were to agree on a new “global compact on responsibility-sharing” to address the refugee crisis and launch talks on a second agreement on migration.

The final document makes no mention of the responsibility-sharing deal and proposes talks on migration beginning early next year, with a view to adopting that accord in 2018.

“The Refugee Summit was a historic opportunity to find a desperately-needed global solution to the refugee crisis,” said Charlotte Philipps from Amnesty International.

“Instead, world leaders delayed any chance of a deal until 2018, procrastinating over crucial decisions even as refugees drown at sea and languish in camps with no hope for the future.”

Ban put forward his proposals in May to address the crisis from some 65 million people fleeing wars and poverty, the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War.

Following weeks of negotiations, the proposed resettlement goal of 10 percent of world refugees was deleted from the document and replaced by a general pledge to take in more refugees.

“We intend to expand the number and range of legal pathways available for refugees to be admitted to, or resettled in, third countries,” the document said.–AFP