Published On: Mon, Sep 19th, 2016

NAM leaders demand better treatment and more respect for refugees and migrants

nam_summit2MARGARITA ISLAND - While New Yorkers were on tenterhooks following the most recent discoveries of explosive devices ahead of a major United Nations meeting on Monday, Caribbean, Latin American, African, Arab, Asian and other developing country leaders welcomed the high-level forum called to discuss the world’s response to the global refugee and migration crises.

And just in case the latest terror threat in New York draws attention from the main agenda item, Non Aligned Movement (NAM) leaders also called, ahead of the meeting, for nations hosting refugees to protect the migrants against undue exploitation or harm.

The 102-member NAM ended its 17th Summit on Margarita Island in Venezuela late Sunday night with a 22-point ten-page final declaration that addressed everything from world peace, security and disarmament to climate change, human rights and terrorism.

The leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines, along with other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delegations from Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, joined their other developing-country counterparts from around the world to “welcome the convening of the High Level Meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants, to be held on 19 September 2016, in New York”.

The NAM leaders didn’t name countries, but the Declaration said the UN meeting “represents an opportunity for international community to discuss responses to this growing global phenomenon that mainly affects women and children.”

The refugee crisis mainly affects Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and Australia where, in all cases, the international media exposes the vulnerability of the tens of thousands who risk their lives dodging bullets and braving rough seas in rickety boats to get mainly to Europe.

Lured by human traffickers, the victims from countries ravaged by wars and internal conflicts are also frequently taken advantage of and abused in various ways that the NAM leaders don’t want the world to miss or forget.

According to the Final Declaration from the leaders’ weekend summit that was officially issued to the media on Monday, “They acknowledged the acute humanitarian emergencies resulting from the high number of refugees, mainly due to the conflicts created in the territories of different member states of the movement.”

It continued, “They further stressed the importance of translating political statements into tangible support to countries affected the most by this phenomenon, as well as the need to assist the host countries and communities.”

The NAM leaders, at their two-day summit on Saturday and Sunday, also “acknowledged the historical contribution of international migration to nations from an economic, political, social and cultural perspective”.

In this regard, they “reaffirmed the responsibility of governments, at all levels, to safeguard and protect the rights of migrants, in accordance with international and domestic laws, including applying, and where needed reinforcing existing laws against all illegal or violent acts”.

The NAM leaders were particularly mindful of “acts of and incitement to ethnic, racial, sex and religious discrimination, as well as crimes perpetrated with racist or xenophobic motivation, by individuals or groups, against migrants -- especially in the context of the global economic crisis that increases the vulnerability of migrants in host countries.”

It is uncertain whether any of the Caribbean leaders will be present in New York on Monday, but several of the delegations from the NAM member-states, including some from the Caribbean, flew directly from Margarita to New York, through Caracas, to attend the High Level UN Meeting on Refugees and Migration. (The Diplomatic Courier)

Photo: With the founding fathers and earlier leaders looking down overhead, the leaders attending the 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) on Margarita Island in Venezuela on Sunday night signed a Declaration calling on the United Nations to ensure refugees and migrants, most of whom are from developing countries, are treated with respect and their rights protected in the countries they go to seeking greener pastures

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