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UNHCR Standing Committee 69th Session: Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme

This statement was delivered by the UK at UNHCR Standing Committee 69th Session: Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme on 28 June 2017.

UNHCR
UNHCR's headquarters are in Geneva.

With unprecedented humanitarian needs and increasing levels of conflict, forced displacement and protracted crises, the centrality of protection for the most vulnerable has never been greater. We need durable, long-term solutions. We want to see safe, orderly and responsible migration that ensures protection for people on the move, and we call for greater compliance with International Humanitarian Law. We welcome UNHCR’s note on international protection.

The UK is a strong supporter of the New York Declaration and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). We need new ways of working to tackle the challenge of long-term protracted crises, to meet the needs, including protection needs, of affected populations: refugees, Internally Displaced People (IDP), and the communities that host them.

The CRRF provides an effective tool to evaluate existing practices and pilot new approaches to improve the international response to large protracted movements of refugees. The protection of these populations is vital and we hope UNHCR’s leadership of the CRRF will fully reflect this.

The UK supports UNCHR’s efforts to implement the CRRF and is keen to see UNCHR act as a facilitator to the process, allowing national host governments to lead and co-ordinate as much as possible.

The UK is pleased that UNCHR continues to engage closely with the World Bank and hopes it will engage similarly with other multilateral and bilateral development partners. We need to see increased access to jobs, basic services, and social protection for refugees and host communities.

UNHCR’s protection mandate is critical for those in need, regardless of status. We strongly support UNHCR’s priority to protection children. We also encourage UNHCR to prioritise other vulnerable groups including people with disabilities, women and girls exposed to sexual and gender violence and those caught in the scourge of modern slavery.

Specifically as regards to UNCHR’s country operations we would like to see:

  • improvements in data on persons with disabilities and their needs, and data on out of camp refugees and IDPs where applicable;

  • more involvement of refugees in decisions made about their assistance and protection;

  • continued streamlining of UNHCR’s co-ordination with OCHA in mixed settings;

  • the centrality of protection reflected in any response: as cluster lead, UNHCR should assess protection needs and formulate these into stand alone or fully integrated strategies. These strategies should be monitored and updated effectively;

  • tripartite agreements that are in the best interest of refugees;

  • and finally, contribution to the prevention of human trafficking.

We commend the bravery of UNHCR staff, often working in extremely challenging environments. We look forward to working closely with UNCHR at country and global levels, to ensure the aspirations from the New York Declaration and leader’s summit are delivered as well as our collective commitments against The Grand Bargain and those made at the World Humanitarian Summit last year.

Published 28 June 2017