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Migration, Refugees, Humanitarian and Peace

The 2016’s humanitarian year was marked in May by a World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and, in September in New York, by a Summit on massive movements of migrants and refugees.

The international community is, as a matter of fact, faced with the greatest humanitarian needs of our time, most of them due to human causes … And the agencies of the United Nations system received only half of the funds they ask for. Given the increase of these needs, the complexity and the difficulty of the situations, the number of actors increases: Governments, UN, regional and subregional organizations, civil society, private economy, local communities, diasporas and religious organizations. To cope, all these actors must favor collaboration and complementarity, partnership and not competition, accept and seek diversity and not uniformity of responses to these humanitarian crises. And prioritize prevention, building resilience through links between emergency humanitarian aid and development assistance. And most importantly, do not forget the causes of these humanitarian crises and these massive movements of refugees and migrants, in most cases conflicts, civil wars or international conflicts.

2017 began with two calls for peace: that of Pope Francis and that of the new Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and by the initiation and the continuation of negotiations to put an end to several conflicts.

January 2017’s was the beginning of peace talks in Geneva for the reunification of Cyprus, and on January 15th in Paris, 75 governments gathered to discuss peace between Israelis and Palestinians – actually without the two main interested stakeholders, essentially on a plan elaborated by the Secretary of State of the Obama Administration. Late February will also see the resumption in Geneva of the negotiations on Syria while in Ecuador Colombian Government and the guerrilla movement ELN have recently begun their dialogue to put an end to more than half a century of conflict in Colombia.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has been in the Middle East since February 10th: first in Turkey, to discuss the reunification of Cyprus and peace in Syria, then in five Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Egypt, to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as those underway in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Humanitarianism can never replace dialogue for a peaceful solution of conflicts.

While the political will to end several conflicts is growing in both Colombia and Cyprus, new tensions are emerging in Asia, between China and the United States, between India and Pakistan, around Lake Chad, in Libya, between Greece And Turkey. After the battle of Aleppo, that of Mosul; While migratory crises across the Mediterranean are fading away (seasonal phenomenon or media weariness?), The decisions of the new US President underline, if it needs to be, the global importance of finding ways to manage migration and Applications for asylum.

At the New York Summit on September 19th 2016, Governments agreed to negotiate two World Covenants by September 2018, one on refugees (under the auspices of UNHCR) and the other on migrants (Led by IOM). At the same time, economic, legal, political and security measures must be quickly taken to harmonize these flows of refugees and migrants. Economic measures to stabilize populations locally or in the vicinity. Regulation of departures, transits, entries, integration of those who are allowed to stay. Seeking political solutions to conflicts. Without neglecting the security not only of States, but also of civilian populations in areas of conflict, migrants and refugees, and taking adequate measures to put an end to these modern forms of slavery Trafficking in human beings.

Migration is one of the problems that can no longer be managed at national or even regional level but must be negotiated on a multilateral, universal basis.

And while the United Nations remains the main place for international dialogue, the United Nations has no monopoly on multilateral diplomacy: it is also necessary to involve the academic circles, individual experts, economic circles, the media, trainers Religious leaders, writers, artists. Geneva has expertise on migration, in its own history and today, with IOM, ILO, UNHCR, WHO, UNHCHR, think tanks and centers Training. Beyond emergencies, take time to gather and study best practices, including humanitarian organizations, which must keep their institutional memory and keep their networks of contacts alive within the governmental and Civil society.

The dialogue focused on New York and Geneva, but it must also be decentralized.The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which began in Brussels ten years ago, will hold a Summit in June this year in Berlin. The torch of dialogue on migration and development has gone from Belgium to the Philippines, then to Greece, Mexico, Switzerland, Mauritius, Sweden, Turkey, Bangladesh, Germany and, In 2018, in Morocco.

The essential thing is to regain the confidence to dialogue and to build together, with partnerships (involving horizontal collaboration) in a circle as large as possible of actors (“multi-stakeholders”) and to use the current technological methods.

A collaboration between North and South, between Germany and Bangladesh, Co-Chairs of the GFMD, between Switzerland and Mexico.

Recognize the mandates and responsibilities of existing organizations, such as UNHCR and IOM respectively for refugees and migrants, and facilitate inter-agency cooperation, particularly in situations where classical categories become blurred, where refugees and migrants form ” Mixed flows “.

And make the link between humanitarian and development, humanitarian and economic, humanitarian and security, humanitarian and other approaches.

Sharing experiences across civilizations and across generations.

Building bridges between countries that fought against each other, forming communities of cooperation as founders of Europe, Adenauer, de Gasperi and Robert Schuman in the aftermath of the Second World War, consider new Marshall Plans The Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

To take up the torch of the pioneers of the norms of humanity, Vitoria and Suarez, two pioneers of contemporary international law, for the defense of the human dignity of all individuals of all races, Henry Dunant for the protection of the wounded and Medical and health personnel, Beccaria and Voltaire against torture, and promoters of the struggle against slavery and servitude in all its forms.

Reaffirm fundamental norms such as the prohibition of torture, judicial guarantees (“habeas corpus”), freedom of religion.

Are lawyers of international law, human rights, international humanitarian law a castaway of a lost civilization? or are they the guardians of the memory of collective tragedies like Solferino for the First Geneva Convention of 1864 protecting the wounded on the battlefield, as Tsoushima (1905) for the protection of the castaways, as the First World War for the protection Prisoners of war and the prohibition of chemical weapons such as the Second World War for the protection of civilians who were victims of the occupation and bombing?

Face to the erosion of respect for international humanitarian law and human rights, including refugees and migrants, it is essential to rediscover the foundations of respect for life and dignity in all cultures. The human person, in any situation, in peace, war, exile, migration, to identify common principles for managing, in the common interest, those problems which only can be managed on an Universal base.

Look for new, less formal and rigid forms for guidelines that would complement existing legal instruments in a effective manner: the two Global Compacts under development for refugees and migrants.

And include a wider circle of stakeholders than governments, international organizations, international NGOs, consulting and inviting private economy, local communities, refugees and migrants as well as religious leaders.

After Australia in 2014, Turkey in 2015, China in 2016, it is Germany that will host, probably this autumn in Hamburg, a Global Interfaith Summit devoted to the role of Religion in the issue of refugees related to conflict and sustainable development (

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