Statement by Senior Adviser Marit Rosenvinge, The Norwegian Ministry of Justice
Thank you Chair,
Norway is profoundly grateful for all efforts made by the UNHCR to respond to an increasing number of ongoing emergencies and protracted refugee situations and for facilitating protection for millions of refugees and internally displaced worldwide. Norway highly appreciates the efforts of neighbouring countries to states with ongoing conflicts, for receiving and hosting very high numbers of displaced persons on their territory.
It is obvious that we urgently need politial solutions to ongoing conflicts, the Syrian conflict being a prime example on how severe the consequences may become, for the country’s population, neighbouring countries, and now also countries and regions further afield. Root causes must be addressed and solved. We are looking forward to the discussions at the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges on root causes of displacement in December.
Norway is particularly concerned about the situation of children, adolescent girls and women in conflict situations, especially the failure to provide children and adolescents with education. Norway has a particular focus on education for refugee children and youth in our humanitarian (and development) aid. Our investment in education in also coupled with an increased effort to protect education in conflict, for example through our endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration. Education is a human right, and an important protection tool. The courage and tireless efforts of this year’s winner of the Nansen Refugee Award, Ms. Aqeela Asifi, serve as a great inspiration in this respect.
Norway underlines our firm belief that protection of refugees is a state responsibility and an obligation. We need to step up to the challenge and provide for refugee status determination on our own territories. The UNHCR finds itself with severe underfunding, and resources could be spent more efficiently elsewhere had states taken more responsibility.
With the unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers coming to, or moving within Europe, limited resources in the UN system and our national budgets must benefit those who are in need of international protection. Countries that receive asylum seekers need to have well-functioning return systems for persons deemed not to be in need of international protection.
Norway has increased the quota for resettlement of refugees over the last years, and will resettle 8 000 Syrian refugees from 2015 – 2017. As chair of this year’s ATCR (Annunal Tripartite Consultation on Resettlement), Norway would take this opportunity to urge new states to join the resettlement family, and for states that already have programs to also consider expanding them.