August 2, 2016 – Civil Society Statement to Member States on the High Level Meeting to Address Large Scale of Movements of Migrants and Refugees

Press Contacts:

Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org; 410-230-2811

 Michelle Blundell
mblundell@mrss.com; 202-478-6176

With more refugees and displaced persons than at any time since the Second World War, the international community and its member states have failed refugees. States, working closely with civil society, must do more to share responsibility with countries of first asylum for refugees, most of which are developing countries. We all must do better to end forced displacement and protracted refugee situations. We call upon the heads of state gathered for the High Level Meeting to Address Large Scale of Movements of Migrants and Refugees to join us and declare a simple vision, that their governments pledge to work, individually and collectively as members of the international community, to ensure that:

(1) Every refugee can access asylum from persecution;
(2) Every refugee will be given the opportunity for a durable solution to his or her plight, to be and feel safe, welcome, and at home, without having to wait years for that solution;
(3) Every refugee, displaced person, and migrant is entitled to the same human rights as everyone else.

Responsibility sharing for refugees is in fact opportunity sharing for states, as refugees can be great contributors to their new societies, if only given the opportunity to do so.

Such a vision statement is not meant to replace any outcomes document to be agreed upon by the states, nor any global compact on refugees and migrants, but to describe the spirit behind the High Level Meeting and the context of any documents which emerge from it.

Signed,
American Jewish Committee
Anti-Defamation League
Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies CARE International
Center for Victims of Torture
Church World Service
Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. Global Communities
HIAS, Global Jewish Organization for Refugees
International Refugee Assistance Project
Islamic Relief USA
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights Jesuit Refugee Service
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lutheran World Federation
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development
Norwegian Refugee Council USA
RefugePoint
United Muslim Relief
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

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Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.