Migrants walking with their backpacks.

“U.N. Deadlocked Over Draft Agreement on Refugees and Migrants”

In the International New York Times
3 August, 2016

“Western European countries, along with Russia, resisted what many had hoped would be a pledge to resettle one-tenth of all the people fleeing war and persecution. And the United States balked at language that would have committed all countries to not detaining undocumented children who arrive at their borders.

At issue is a 22-page draft “outcome document” that the 193 countries of the United Nations are trying to agree on before the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September. It is not legally binding. Still, the negotiations are so difficult that a draft text that had been expected to be adopted on Monday, after being postponed at least once before, was postponed again.”

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The negotiations for an outcome document in view of the 19 September UN summit on large movements of refugees and migrants in New York seem deadlocked. It is very worrying to see that the US and Europe are not supporting the end of child detention, changing the initial text from “detention is never in the best interests of children” to “detention is seldom if ever in the best interests of children, we commit to minimizing this practice and using it as a measure of last resort.” Even more worryingly, the negotiated draft has nothing to say about how to manage mobility and diversity in the future, how to integrate these dimensions of our contemporary societies into democratic structures, with a proper normative framework and effective institutions to ensure that the human rights of all, including migrants, are protected and security is guaranteed. As was the case for the Development Agenda 2030 or the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the is an urgent need of a long-term strategic vision on mobility and diversity, which goes well beyond responding to the present issues of individual States and sets out a human-rights-framed agenda for mobility and diversity throughout the planet.

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