|Statement by Ms. ZHANG Dan, Counselor of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Briefing on the Question of Refugees|
|New York, 8 January 2009|
I would like to thank France, as the President of the Security Council, to convene this meeting, and thank the High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Guterres for his briefing, which is highly beneficial to the work of the Security Council.
During the past year, the UNHCR had achieved positive progress in all the three aspects of refugee voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement, to which China expresses its appreciation. At the same time, we have noticed that the current total number of refugees in the world has grown to 11.4 million and the number of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) is also increasing steadily as a result of armed conflicts and natural disasters. Armed conflicts, political turmoil, economic stagnation, poverty and backwardness remain the main causes of the intractability and aggravation of the problem of refugees. In addition, factors like security environment, mixed flow and environmental degradation have also made it more difficult to protect refugees. In the current circumstances, the international community should continue to follow the principle of "international solidarity and shared responsibilities" and strengthen international cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit in order to fulfill our common responsibility of addressing the question of refugees.
Ending regional conflicts and maintaining a safe security environment remain the fundamental ways to solve the refugee problem. The majority of national and regional conflicts on the agenda of the Security Council are accompanied by serious refugee problems and the majority of the UN peace-keeping operations are mandated with the task of protecting civilians and safeguarding humanitarian assistance. It is necessary for the Security Council to further enhance the coordination and collaboration between conflict mediation and peace-keeping on the one hand and refugee protection and humanitarian assistance on the other so as to ensure that peace-keeping operations create an enabling environment for the repatriation and social reintegration of the refugees with a view to facilitating a lasting solution to the problem of refugees and IDPs.
Thank you, Mr. President.