United Nations Meets To Increase Refugee Resettlement

Getty Images

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The United Nations met Monday and will meet Tuesday with the goal of gaining commitments from countries to resettle larger amounts of refugees and migrants.

World leaders agreed Monday to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. This agreement contains commitments to “ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival,” and “strongly condemn[s] xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it.”

The agreement also calls for countries to generally increase the amount of refugees they resettle. It calls for world leaders to “develop a global compact” on how to deal with the current refugee crisis by 2018. This agreement is non-binding.

“Refugees and migrants are not to be seen as a burden; they offer great potential, if only we unlock it,” U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. “We must place the human rights of all refugees and migrants at the heart of our commitments.”

The push for higher resettlement of refugees and migrants is not sitting well with everyone. The President of the European Council Donald Tusk said Monday: “You have to know that today the European Union has a clear objective to restore order on  its external borders. As a result, this will lead to the further reduction of the irregular flows to the EU. There will be no repeat of the year 2015 with more than 1 and a half million irregular migrants.”

Across Europe, anti-immigration parties are scoring a wave of victories as citizens are upset with the large flow up refugees and immigrants into the region.

Tusk did say that that the EU plans to facilitate the resettlement of refugees through partnerships with Middle Eastern and African nations.

Outside of the agreement reached Monday, President Barack Obama will be convening a Leaders Summit on Refugees with U.N General Secretary Ban Ki-moon on refugees Tuesday. The president is expected to ask for global commitments for increased funding for international and humanitarian organizations, more resettlements of refugees, and efforts to “increase refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion through opportunities for education and legal work.”

Before this summit, Obama met with business leaders to talk with them about how they can help in the refugee resettlement efforts. Refugees who gain work or training visas from businesses do not fall under the U.S’s cap on refugees.

The United States announced recently that they will be increasing the amount of refugees resettled from 85,000 in Fiscal Year 2016 to 110,000 in Fiscal Year 2017.

The U.N currently estimates there were 65.3 million people displaced at the end of 2015.