Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy
Before the Third Committee of the
60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
on item 39: Report of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
York, 9 November 2005
Having read the Report of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to
returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions, my
salutes the work of the UNHCR, especially that undertaken in the most
and difficult of circumstances.
Since the movement of peoples was acknowledged in the last century,
attempts have been made at the international level to find solutions to
problems associated with this important humanitarian question.
Although there has been a recent
decline in refugees specifically, the number of people of direct concern
UNHCR has increased worldwide to some 19 million, including
returnees, IDPs and others at risk in the world. The scale alone of this
phenomenon merits every international attention.
The High Commissioner for Refugees
has recently underscored the UNHCR’s role as a protection agency, whose
must be protection-minded and judged by their protection implications.
that each individual State has the responsibility to protect its
from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,
concept, as reflected in the World Summit Outcome document, has rightly
acceptance for humanitarian reasons. Protection of those in distress and
assistance to them go hand in hand with lucid analysis and public
the causes of humanitarian crises; but crises by their very nature
action and predictable funding.
In terms of the UNHCR mandate, the
concept of protection has long-term consequences, especially in the case
vast majority of refugees who are living in protracted refugee
Protection, not just defence from outside hostile forces, touches the
spectrum of human rights of those forced to flee. Such rights remain
during all phases of repatriation, reintegration, rehabilitation and
Protection firstly includes
safeguarding the people’s physical security and the full enjoyment of
rights. Secondly, it includes creating a safe environment, especially
children, the elderly and the disabled. The design and implementation of
prevention and response measures need to ensure in particular the
women and children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and
Thirdly, protection means assuring adequate nutrition, a perennial
refugee situations. Facing the nutritional challenge also involves
granting refugees the necessary freedom of movement and residence and
to a livelihood.
The question of sustained voluntary
repatriation deserves re-examination. This involves not just return in
and dignity, but also social and economic aspects of post-conflict
reconstruction by establishing in particular an effective link between
humanitarian relief and sustainable development. Concretely, that means
restoration of infrastructure, health, education, agriculture,
priority access to food.
The inability to address internal
displacement is now considered the single biggest failure in the
action of the international community. Protection needs are not related
whether borders are crossed or not. A reliable system, embedded in an
appropriate institutional framework, could play an effective role in
to the security and protection needs of the internally displaced and in
the concerned local authorities fulfil their responsibility towards the
Finally, as the concept of
Peacebuilding is being fleshed out, it would be well to include in it a
returnees. Their repatriation should always take place with adequate
for the sake of the returnees themselves, but also in order to maintain
standards set by the UNHCR itself.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.