On 10 July, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) held the first thematic discussion of the Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact will be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 and impact the lives of refugees around the world. Iyad Kallas, Syrian refugee, representative of the Network for Refugee Voices, and the only refugee to address the assembly called for inclusive discussions on refugee policy.
“[R]efugees have agency," Mr. Kallas stated. "Our contribution is key to develop solutions that are effective and sustainable.”
Mr. Kallas, on behalf of the Network for Refugee Voices called on the international community to “commit to the UN General Assembly New York declaration, of last September, that states that all refugee policy must contain direct refugee input....[and] [d]evelop coordinated burden sharing procedures, by disclosing resettlement criteria, recognizing regional sensibilities of both refugee and host communities, and fostering regional ownership of refugee assistance and responsibility towards good governance."
Mr. Kallas added that the international community must "include refugees in their commitment towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the commitment to Leave No One Behind policies.”
“Hearing me, a refugee voice, in this room, is only a step in the right direction,” he stated. “I hope that [refugees] will continue to inform this process.”
For video of his address, visit http://webtv.un.org/watch/panel-discussion-on-responsibility-sharing-1st-thematic-discussion-unhcr-global-compact-on-refugees/5499399050001.