September 19, 2018
The Rohingya Refugee Crisis: One Year On
Thank you very much Deputy Secretary General.
I want to thank the Secretariat of the World Humanitarian Summit, our Turkish hosts and all of the volunteers for their tremendous hard work.
NGO’s have strongly engaged in the World Humanitarian Summit process for more than two years now, with a willingness to change and evolve. They have all participated in a collective movement. We welcome the increased involvement of southern NGO’s and urge their participation in the governance of the humanitarian sector.
Based on the realities of the field today and the proximity to affected populations, NGOs want to move from a centralized system to a more diverse system of players. The actors on the front lines must receive more adequate resources. Several countries pledged towards this goal yesterday.
At the Grand Bargain session we noted Mr. O’Brien’s commitment to this more diverse system. The commitments from the last two days should not be ones based on empty promises as in some previous summits. If, in 3 years, we meet again and these commitments have not been turned into reality then we will have deceived the 125 million people affected by humanitarian crises. Now is the time to act.
Some of the NGO’s commitments can be put into practice immediately.
1) Ensure that national NGOs are integrated from tomorrow in coordination mechanisms
2) Include in all of our programs support for the prevention of violence against women.
3) Train actors on humanitarian principles
4) Implement the Charter on the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
In the longer term, this summit marks a collective change in mindset for each NGO on the need to include people at the center of all our decisions. Beyond these concrete commitments, NGO’s have a highly political role in denouncing violations of international humanitarian law. These past two days we noted the strong commitment of states to humanitarian principles, however the reality on the ground is quite different. As was said during one of the round tables this morning, it is time to close the gap between the law and today’s terrible reality. We expect a united and urgent application of these principles in all our fields of intervention. This new system will not be realized if states do not respect fundamental human rights.
We will continue to be engaged and attentive during our monitoring of the Summit.
Mr. Deputy Secretary, NGO’s will maintain their commitments. We are indebted to affected populations, especially the most vulnerable – primarily women and children. We intend to be part of the monitoring process of this new system. At the center of our concerns is urgently finding an answer to the global refugee and migrant crisis. Without access we cannot relieve the terrible suffering of these populations. Without the strong political will to resolve conflicts, nothing can change.
Our next meeting will be in New York in September during the UN General Assembly. The issue of migration and refugees will take center stage there. This assembly will be an important follow up to this Summit and the success of the summit will be measured by the placement of people. Restoring people’s dignity must be our first indicator.