President Muhammadu Buhari and several other world leaders have adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.
The adoption took place on Monday night in New York.
The declaration expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on global scale.
The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, while congratulating member states for adopting the declaration, said: “Today’s summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility.”
Ki-moon said the adoption would mean that more children could now attend school, more workers could securely seek jobs abroad, instead of being at the mercy of criminal smugglers, and more people would have real choices about whether to move during conflicts sustain peace and increase opportunities at home.
Peter Thomson, the President of the UN General Assembly, said: “I will take forward the commitment of the membership to begin a process that will lead to a global compact on migration, as well as to support a global compact on refugees.
“I want to urge member states to maintain high level of ambition throughout these processes, and to always reach for higher ground. The fate of millions of refugees and migrants rests with us.”
Thomson said by adopting the New York Declaration, member states were making bold commitments, “including negotiations that will lead to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018”.
Thomson also stated: “Member states will also develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations, as well as have a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.”
The UN Scribe also launched a new campaign called: “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for ‘All,’” as called for in the declaration, to respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope.
Ki-moon urged world leaders to join the campaign and commit together to upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of better life.
President Buhari, while addressing the assembly earlier, said: “Nigeria believes that without deliberate and collective commitment and action, the issue of large movement of refugees and migrants may impede our aspirations toward achieving the Programme of Action of the Cairo Agenda +20.”
He added that without deliberate and collective commitment and action, the movement of refugees and migrants may also affect global determination to leave no one behind in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.