Thank you chair,
Norway would like to thank UNHCR for the enormous efforts over the last year with ex-tremely complex refugee situations in various parts of the world, and the Syrian situation still ongoing with no solution in sight at this point.
We thank the neighbouring states of Syria for continuously hosting a large number of Syrian refugees. We also thank other states for hosting large numbers of refugees from other refu-gee situations.
The UN high-level meeting on 19 September represents a starting point for states and UN-HCR to find better and more equitable ways to handle large refugee and migration flows. As discussed at this meeting, it is necessary to maintain a distinction between refugees and migrants.
The asylum institute is a specific tool for giving international protection to those in need. It is important to preserve the institute for this purpose. In order to have a well-functioning asy-lum system, we also need well-functioning systems for return of those not deemed to be in need of international protection. We should strenghten our efforts and cooperation to reach this end.
Countries of origin must accept to readmit nationals deemed not to be in need of interna-tional protection, whether returning voluntary or otherwise, bearing in mind the obligation of all states under international law to take back their own nationals.
Norway has a long tradition for resettling refugees. This year, the Norwegian quota for re-settlement is 3 120 places. 3 000 places are for Syrian refugees. This will be continued in 2017.
Norway would welcome states that haven’t done so yet, to establish resettlement programs or alternative programs for legal pathways for refugees in need of protection. Norway wel-comes the recent joint initiative from UNHCR and IOM to better address the needs faced by new and emerging resettlement countries in establishing resettlement programmes.
Norway will continue to emphasize the situation of internally displaced persons. While inter-nally displaced are often in extremely dire situations and hard to reach, most attention goes to the ongoing refugee crises. However, the internally displaced should not be left behind.
Norway supports UNHCR’s humanitarian work with respect to protection of vulnerable groups. It is important that humanitarian responses reach out to such groups also in mixed migration flows, such as women, children, LGBTI, people with disabilities and others that may be at particular risk of discrimination and assault.
We would particularly like to highlight the importance of preventing and responding to sex-ual and gender-based violence as a key protection priority. Norway supports UNHCR’s com-mitment in this regard. The specific risks that displaced women and girls face need to be further analyzed and responded to.
Norway also puts great emphasis on protection of children on the move. It is vital to let chil-dren be able to develop their skills and personalities, also when being in a refugee situation. Norway has committed to promote quality education for children and young people in emergencies and protracted crises through continued political engagement and increased financial contributions.
Norway is concerned with the situation of unaccompanied minors who travel on their own. Some have protection needs, many do not. The journeys they undertake at the hands of smugglers are extremely dangerous, and the risks of being abused or losing their lives are high. Norway thanks UNHCR for focusing on children on the move at this year’s High Commission-aire’s Protection Dialogue.
During the coming work on the global compacts for refugees and migrants, we must address various aspects of the situation for refugee children more generally and for unaccompanied minors.
Norway will give high priority to the work on the two global compacts and is looking forward to constructive discussions and cooperation with you all.
I thank you.