Statement by India made during the 2nd round of UNHCR formal consultations on the Global compact on refugees (Agenda item 1 & 2) - Delivered by Ambassador Virander Paul, Deputy Permanent Representative

Statement by India made during the 2nd round of UNHCR formal consultations on the Global compact on refugees (Agenda item 1 & 2) - Delivered by Ambassador Virander Paul, Deputy Permanent Representative

(Geneva, Switzerland, 20 March 2018)

Thank you Mr. Chair.

    The delegation of India would like to make this combined statement for Agenda items 1 & 2 . We thank the office for preparing the first draft of the Global compact on Refugees and organizing these consultations.

2. While we continue to examine the text of the draft and in light of the outcomes of the ongoing consultations, we have some comments and suggestions to offer for improving the text further at this stage.

3. But before we do so, my delegation would like to recognize the following welcome changes in the text before us.

That the compact aims at establishing a framework for more predictable and equitable burden and responsibility sharing among UN Member States and other relevant stakeholders (Para 3) in the spirit of international cooperation and solidarity and is legally non-binding (Para 6);

It would be operationalized through voluntary contributions by Member States according to their respective capacities (Para 6);

The Compact is humanitarian and non-political in nature and outlook. (Para 8);

It would require improved international cooperation and complementarity among political, humanitarian, developmental and peace efforts (Para 8);

The ‘Grand bargain’ commitments related to funding and strengthening of the institutional capacity of local responders have been incorporated (Para 32).

4. Today, we would like to offer the following specific suggestions for inclusion in the text:

That the Compact would be operationalized through contributions by Member States according to not merely their respective resources, capacity and expertise (Para 6) but also in a manner that is consistent with State’s rights and obligations under international law and their own legislations and taking into account their different national priorities, including those relating to development and security;

Dealing with refugee problems, in the first instance, is not only the responsibility of the States directly concerned (Para 8) but also that of the ‘country of origin’;

The Compact which is grounded in international refugee protection regime (Para 4) recognizes the fact that a number of States not parties to the international refugee instruments have shown a generous approach to hosting refugees and that the commitments and obligations of those who are party to the Refugee Convention and its protocol and those who are not, differ.

5. Speaking about the draft text itself, we believe it would have been helpful if the office had also provided the text of the zero draft with changes made in a track mode for easier understanding of how the text is evolving.

6. A simplified and more readable text of the Compact would help better understanding of its substance by all stakeholders, particularly the refugees.

7. The aspect of prevention and finding durable solutions to protracted refugee situations by addressing the root causes has been reflected better in the first draft (in Section iii Paras 8 & 9). However, the compact could be clearer and more specific in terms of the actionable commitments of the donors and the countries of origin.

8. There is a need to be more ambitious in terms of expanding complementary pathways and third country solutions as a means of equitable sharing of burden and responsibility.

9. More than 4/5th of the world refugees continue to be hosted by developing countries which have constraints in terms of capacity and resource as well as pressing priorities and challenges, relating to both security and development. Some of them are not party to the international refugee law. Yet they host a large number of refugees and face protracted refugee situations. The litmus test of the Global Compact would therefore be its success in providing a clear mechanism for the international community to genuinely share the burden of these host countries in the true spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

10. Finally, I take this opportunity to renew the commitment of India, a generous host to and not a source of a large number of refugees, for protection of refugees and cooperation with the international community. We look forward to a positive and mutually beneficial outcome through constructive engagement.

Thank you.

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