Initial Outcomes for UNGA on Refugees and Migrants

Initial Elements for the Outcome Document to the United Nations General Assembly Summit for Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants (Sept. 19)

The Women in Migration Network (WIMN) welcomes the initiative of the UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representatives to the UN from Ireland and Jordan as Co-Chairs, to address large movements of refugees and migrants.

We urge states to reject the binary framing of refugee or migrant within these large movements, recognising lived experience is not ordered or defined by these pre-determined categories. There are many migrants in these large movements who are not refugees as defined by the 1951 Refugee Convention but have been subjected to discrimination or violence, or are marginalised, unable to realise their human rights, and at risk of harm. They may face no more options than the refugee who is fleeing a “well-founded fear of persecution”. We call on states to reject entirely the idea that migrants (including but not limited to those in large flows) are less deserving than refugees. In addition to ignoring states’ structural need for and benefit from migration, this has fueled the demonisation of foreigners and strengthened racist and xenophobic movements.

We call on states to recognise that we need a long-term commitment to increasing equality between and within states. This needs to be central to any programme of work to address the multiple drivers of these large movements of refugees and other migrants, and must also include work such as sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, peacebuilding, and addressing climate change.[1]

  1. All migrants have all human rights.[2] We urge states that have not yet ratified relevant international human rights law, international refugee law, international humanitarian law, international labour law, and international criminal law standards to do so.[3]

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