The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, provides a framework for collaboration and responsibility-sharing when responding to refugee emergencies across the globe. The GCR’s objectives include easing pressure on refugee-hosting countries, enhancing refugee self-reliance, and expanding access to third-country solutions, such as refugee resettlement. It also calls for the meaningful participation of refugees in its implementation.
One of the most influential actors pushing for refugee participation at the GRF is the Global Refugee-Led Network (GRN), across six global regions including Asia region which APNOR was leading the discussion. The APNOR’s leadership includes refugees from a variety of contexts, several of whom have been resettled to different corners of the Asia. The network has begun hosting their own regional refugee summit and forums with the hope that the outcomes of these summit will contribute to discussions at the GRF on ensuring effective implementation of the GCR.
Overall, APNOR emphasizes the importance of avoiding token refugee representation at UN meetings, the value for refugees to participate in leadership and advocacy training, and the need for follow-up by the humanitarian and development community regarding the way refugee contributions are used. One of the success from GRF with APNOR worked closely with GRN is the announcement of “Refugee Participation Pledge”. We put forward language for a “Refugee Participation Pledge” to which governments and others can sign-on, ideally prior to the GRF. Essentially, it is a commitment to engage refugees in a meaningful way in all processes and decisions that affect them, including contributions that are announced at the first GRF, as well as at subsequent high-level meetings on refugees.
Through this pledge, we seek to foster an enabling environment in which refugees and affected communities engage directly in developing solutions. An inclusive approach will ensure refugee and host communities are treated with dignity, enjoy their rights and do not face discrimination, abuse, exploitation or protracted displacement. We commit to practicing a multi-stakeholder approach, strengthening collaboration between initiatives and other stakeholders to guarantee positive changes in the humanitarian system and refugee response at all levels.
We are asking organizations, governments, funders and interested individuals to consider: How can you support and amplify the voices and impact of refugee-led initiatives in your work?
If you are a refugee or part of an refugee-led organization, we are asking: How can we work together to strengthen our communities so that no one is left behind?
We will be stronger if we work together. If you are an NGO, government or funding body, sign the Refugee Participation Pledge and commit to the meaningful inclusion of refugees in decision-making.
Global Refugee Forum Refugee Participation Pledge (Download Document)
Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) is the only region-wide refugee-led network of refugee-led initiatives in the Asia Pacific region that is working with and for refugees. APNOR was established in 2018, on the recommendation of Asia Pacific Summit of Refugees (APSOR).