Statement in Response to the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Mr. Volker Türk, and IOM Senior Regional Advisor for Europe and Central Asia, Mr. Manfred Profazi

Delivered by Ambassador Steffen Kongstad at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 3 May 2018



I am very pleased to welcome the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Mr. Volker Türk, and IOM Senior Regional Adviser for Europe and Central Asia, Mr. Manfred Profazi, to the Permanent Council.

Addressing large movements of refugees and migrants is one of the great challenges facing our region today. Universal human rights follow individuals on the move: at their origin, at border crossings, in transit, and at their destination, regardless of their status. It is essential to keep human rights at the centre of all policies addressing the situation for refugees and migrants. In our case, that includes the body of relevant OSCE commitments. At the same time, the special status and rights of refugees must be safeguarded and upheld, as a distinct category of persons under international law.

Effective humanitarian responses must take into account the particular needs and situations of both women and girls as well as men and boys. There is a need for targeted strategies for addressing gender. We must ensure the safety and security for particularly vulnerable persons. This includes effective prevention of sexual and gender-based violence as well as human trafficking.

The Global Compact on Refugees will be an important instrument for the effective protection of those who are forced to flee, and for our mutual support to those states offering shelter. One main goal of the Compact must be to mobilise more states to share in the responsibility for protecting refugees. More states should contribute, not only with financing, but also with resettlement programs or complementary legal pathways.

We also continue to follow with interest the developments toward the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Reducing the root causes for extreme poverty through combating human trafficking and assisting vulnerable migrants is a highly important tool for socio-economic development. A regional approach, through regional exchange of knowledge, experience and best practices, will complement national efforts of each country to improve the response to trafficking in human beings and protection of trafficking survivors. To this extent, Norway is supporting programmatic activity through IOM in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia, and across Central Asia.

Norway welcomes the call to consider what participating States can do to protect, assist and facilitate durable solutions for the internally displaced on the 20th anniversary of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and beyond. Internal displacement is the result of many causes, among them military conflict, ecological disaster and political oppression. As such, several causes for displacement are among the challenges that the OSCE addresses as part of its comprehensive approach to security.

As a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the OSCE has an opportunity to assist in the implementation of relevant commitments of the United Nations, particularly within conflict prevention, peaceful settlement of disputes and post-conflict peacebuilding. As a security organization, the OSCE and its executive structures, in co-operation with participating States, already contribute to addressing some causes of displacement in our region. We welcome the OSCE’s co-operation with both UNHCR and IOM and encourage further co-operation where relevant.

Statement in response to UNHCR and IOM