Statement on International Protection

Statement delivered by Senior Advisor Marit Rosenvinge on International Protection, Agenda Item 5a under the UNHCR Executive Committee 2-6 October 2017.

Thank you chair,

Norway would like to thank UNHCR for the extraordinary efforts over the last year and for the excellent cooperation. Norway also thanks states hosting large numbers of refugees.

Norway aligns itself with the statement delivered by Australia on behalf of the Group of Friends of the campaign to end statelessness. We are pleased to note progress in combatting statelessness. Norway has also implemented changes in our practice, strengthening the rights of stateless children born in Norway.

Resettlement is an important durable solution for refugees. There is a need to offer resettlement to more refugees and otherwise complementary pathways on the global level. Norway welcomes the European's Commission's proposal to substantially expand the funds made available to encourage Member States to offer resettlement for refugees. We commend countries like Sweden, Australia and New Zealand for increasing their quotas. By the end of this year, Norway will have met the target of resettling 8 000 Syrian refugees in the period 2015-2017. We are currently in the process of deciding on the size and composition of next year's quota.

Norway has fulfilled its commitment to relocate 1 500 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece from 2016 and 17. The Refugee Convention must be upheld, and we encourage states that have not done so to ratify both the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols. In order to have credible and well-functioning asylum systems, we also need well-functioning systems for return of those not in need of international protection. Countries of origin must accept to readmit such critizens, bearing in mind the obligation of states under international customary law to do so.

Norway sees education as an important protocol tool and allocates 8% of our humanitarian assistance to education. We were all moved and impressed by the work of Mr. Zannah Mustapha, this year's winner of the Nansen Refugee Award, working on educating orphaned children in north-eastern Nigeria. The winner from 2015, Aqeela Asifi, the Afghan teacher working to educate Afghan refugee girls in Pakistan, used the prize to invest in a new school. This is inspiring and important, knowing that the lack of access to education can drive young people to embark on life threatening journeys.

We attach great importance to UNHCR's community-based appraoch, and the age, gender and diversity policy. It is important for the accountability to the affected populations that the priorities and views of the communities concerned directly inform planning and programming, so that people can make informed decisions and better access their rights.

UNHCR and partners must address the protection risks and needs of affected populations both in protracted crises and in emergency response. We would like to express particular concern for the protection of children and the response to SGBV.

We welcome the enhanced child protection and SGBV prevention and response capacity in emergencies, but there are still gaps. We expect UNHCR to continue to enhance the protection response capacity early on in emergencies, as well as the capacity to sustain it in protracted crises. Implementing the Child protection, education and SGBV strategy is key.

We expect all humanitarian actors to shape their plans to achieve protection outcomes. The Resident and Humanitarian coordinators must lead the country teams to meet this expectation. UNHCR, as the protection cluster lead, has a particular responsibility to ensure that protection of affected people is at least one of the overall objectives of the Humanitarian Response Plans. Field coordinators have a key role to support partners to identify protection risks and needs, and put in place appropriate response plans and to help them access funding.

Speaking of funding, there is a need for more states to step up as donors to make UNHCR able to respond to refugee and IDP crises, and supporting host states. This will also be important to make the CRRF a success.

Norway remains highly supportive of protection of refugees worldwide, and will remain a strong supporter and partner of UNHCR.

I thank you!