Ireland co-hosts major UN summit on refugee crisis

Ireland co-hosts major UN summit on refugee crisis
Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan (left) with Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates Samantha O’Brien O’Reilly and Colm O’Rourke. Picture: PA

Ireland is co-hosting a major UN summit in New York today, to discuss the issue of refugees and migrants.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will address the UN General Assembly later.

Today's summit will be the first time the United Nations has dealt with the issue of both migrants and refugees at a high-level meeting of all 193 member states at the UN general assembly.

The conference will look at the root causes of the large movements of refugees, as well as highlighting the positive contributions of migrants.

About 65 million people have been displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence or political persecution, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The number of migrants is estimated to be around 244 million.

The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which will be adopted by the UN today, aims to strengthen governance of international migration, and create a more predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

Speaking ahead of his departure for the UN, Mr Flanagan said: "Ireland's commitment to the principles and values enshrined in the United Nations Charter remains at the very heart of our foreign policy and the annual UN General Assembly provides a valuable opportunity to set out Ireland's priorities and to engage with international partners.

"Ireland is particularly active in both UN peacekeeping and in tackling hunger and poverty. In my address to the UN General Assembly, I will highlight the fact that conflict and deprivation are key drivers of the current migration crisis.

"The community of nations needs to work together to address the root causes of migration and the UN has a critical role to play in this regard. Today's migration crisis resonates with Ireland's own sad history of emigration and I will be emphasising the need for the international community to tackle the root causes of the migration crisis, rather than focus on addressing the symptoms of the problem.

"Ireland played a key role in facilitating the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the holistic multilateral approach offers a model that can be adopted in addressing the challenges posed by migration."


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