|Statement by Counsellor YAO Shaojun during the General Debate on the Item of Refugees at the Third Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly|
Currently, the global refugee situation keeps deteriorating with the number of refugees reaching the highest point since the Second World War. At the same time, resources for humanitarian relief fall far short of demand. Most refugees concentrate in developing countries, placing onerous burden on the recipient countries’ economic and social development as well as security. In some developed countries, xenophobia against refugees is on the rise and there is a growing tendency of politicizing the issue of refugees.
Over the past year, under the leadership of High Commissioner Grandi, UNHCR has made vigorous efforts to advance internal reform, strengthen coordination, and enhance its capacity for emergency response, thus playing a positive role in protecting the welfare of the refugees and responding to the refugee crisis. China highly appreciates those efforts. China has always maintained good cooperation with UNHCR. Last June, High Commissioner Grandi made a successful visit to China when agreement was reached on many points concerning deepening cooperation between China and UNHCR. China will continue to support the work of UNHCR and the High Commissioner.
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants has set a roadmap for the global cooperation in refugee protection. This year, UNHCR conducted in some countries pilot projects for implementing the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and scored positive results. On the formulation of a Global Compact for Refugees and the international effort in the refugee area, China would like to offer the following observations:
First, insist on addressing both the symptoms and root causes of the refugee problem. While it is necessary to increase support for UNHCR and the recipient countries and eliminate xenophobia and discrimination against refugees, efforts are needed to address the root causes such as social instability and imbalance in development, seek to resolve disputes through dialogue and step up assistance for the development of developing countries, so as to create conditions for the return of the refugees and promote the steady development of countries of origin.
Second, uphold the spirit of international cooperation. UNHCR should sum up the experience and practices of the pilot projects for implementing the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in a timely manner to provide reference for the formulation of the said Global Compact for Refugees. The negotiations of the Global Compact must be member states-driven and should be advanced gradually. The question of reception and resettlement of refugees requires an integrated consideration of the historical genesis of a particular situation as well as the national conditions and practical capacity of various countries.
Third, adhere to the principle of objectivity and neutrality. Being objective, neutral and non-political is the basic principle of international humanitarian work and an important basis for the healthy development of the international cause of refuge protection. In addressing refugee affairs, the international community must adhere to the principle of objectivity and neutrality, avoid interfering in the internal affairs of the countries concerned and prevent the politicization and abuse of international refugee protection mechanisms.
China advocates the establishment of a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and the building of a community of shared future for mankind. This concept serves as an important guide to the improvement of the global effort to address the refugee problem. Last May, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation during which more than 270 outcomes have been reached, including provision by China to the countries along the Belt and Road 100 refugee assistance projects on food, tents and prefabricated houses, education opportunities for 500 refugee adolescents and financial aid to 100 refugee athletes for them to attend international and regional sports games. China stands ready to continue to work with all sides to actively contribute to the improvement of the global effort to address the refugee issue and the promotion of the international cause of refugee protection.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman