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The UN General Assembly highlights the migrant and refugee crisis

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The UN General Assembly highlights the migrant and refugee crisis

“Today’s summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility,” Ban Ki-moon.

On 19 September 2016, the UN General Assembly commenced in New York. The global movement of migrants and refugees were at the forefront of the agenda. World leaders supported the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which, “expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility”.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon thanked member states by saying, “Today’s summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility […] and more people will have real choices about whether to move once we end conflict, sustain peace and increase opportunities at home.”

The number of global citizens that have fled war and persecution in their home country continues to rise; UN figures show that 16.1 million individuals were registered as refugees in 2015. Citizens of Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria combine to represent 54% of this figure.

This unprecedented movement of people places greater emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ways governments and organisations can set out to achieve them. H.E. Peter Thompson, President of the UN General Assembly, stated:

“This time last year, the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted, ushering in a new transformative framework for our world. Through our collective pledge to ‘leave no one behind’, we undertook to ensure that development gains will reach our most vulnerable. In this context, we must ensure the needs of refugees and migrants are not overlooked.”

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This summit serves as a timely reminder that working towards the SDGs presents opportunities to eradicate poverty and bring peace to regions of conflict. It is recognised that sport can act as an enabler and affordable tool when doing so. The UN “recognise the growing contribution of sport to the realisation of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives”.

The migrant and refugee crisis continues to be of global concern, and world leaders at the UN General Assembly have stated their ambition to resolve global displacement. Sport is not alone the answer, but the power of sport can be used to improve the life chances of those who find themselves in the most desperate of situations.

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Article type

News

Author

Neil Rankin

Published

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 23:00