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Statement

The IRC reacts to President Obama’s Refugee Summit

  • The IRC reacts to President Obama’s Refugee Summit

IRC applauds President Obama for hosting world leaders for a first of its kind Summit on Refugees.

The Summit comes at a time of historic displacement when responsibility sharing for refugees among the international community is uneven and more critical than ever.

The three pillars of Summit commitments—greater financial support to refugee-hosting countries, increased resettlement slots and pathways to refugee self-reliance through education and work opportunities in host countries—are mutually reinforcing and all required to respond adequately to the needs of the 21 million refugees around the world and the communities and countries to which they’ve been displaced. By requiring the states attending the Summit to deliver concrete commitments, the Summit has put responsibility sharing in specific and measurable terms. This is particularly welcome given the New York Declaration adopted at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants the day prior did not produce specific or binding commitments from UN Member States.

Additionally, the creation of a new World Bank Global Crisis Response Platform to provide more comprehensive financial support for refugee-hosting countries is a potentially game changing development and one that IRC strongly supports. It represents a step toward a broader set of tools used beyond traditional humanitarian assistance to support the needs of refugees and their host communities and countries, particularly in situations where they are displaced for years on end.

While more than fifty countries attended the Summit and the targets set by the President and Summit co-chairs were met, the true test of the Summit’s success will be whether those commitments are delivered on by attending states. Too often, international conferences lead to pledges on paper and in press releases that don’t translate to real change on the ground. IRC encourages all states that committed to the Summit targets to deliver them and hold other states accountable to meet theirs. Responsibility sharing can be a virtuous cycle and IRC hopes these commitments will be catalytic, encouraging a greater degree of collaboration by all actors toward meeting a defining challenge of our time.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.