Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

Global Compact on Refugees - 4th Thematic Session - First Panel: How can we support voluntary and sustainable return?

Geneva, 14/11/2017 - 10:52, UNIQUE ID: 171114_8
Statements on behalf of the EU

Global Compact on Refugees - 4th Thematic Session Geneva, 14 November 2017 First Panel: How can we support voluntary and sustainable return?

Mr./Ms. Chairperson,

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia[*], Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Ukraine align themselves with this statement.

The EU and its Member States recognize the central role of voluntary and sustainable return among solution strategies for displacement. We underline the need to assess vulnerabilities of both refugees and host communities. Developing adequate solution strategies should include the effective use of data and statistics.

We would like to reaffirm the primary goal of bringing about conditions that would enable refugees to return in a safe, dignified and human manner to their countries, while respecting non-refoulement. Everyone has the right to return to his or her country.

The EU and its Member States would like to underline that return needs to be part of an overall recovery strategy to ensure its sustainability. As many returnees opt to return to urban areas, providing support to relevant authorities is a priority. Countries of origin are encouraged to take adequate measures ensuring respect of the right to effective remedy.

Where a crisis has led to forced displacement, we recommend the following aspects be taken into account:

  • The need to reflect and include refugees in peace agreements and crisis recovery strategies;
  • The necessity to avoid displacement upon return by ensuring that conditions for sustainable return are met;
  • The need to avoid discrimination between returnees and host populations.

Finally, we encourage all relevant stakeholders to raise the importance of preparedness for return and reintegration, including:

  • Promoting social cohesion through education by preparing the ground for peaceful recovery;
  • Fostering self-reliance of refugees during displacement as it will enhance the sustainability of return;
  • Enhancing access to labour market and entrepreneurship opportunities, thus favouring transfer of capital to countries of origin;
  • Promoting national development planning to incorporate the needs of refugees in order to facilitate their sustainable and inclusive reintegration.

Thank you, Mr./Ms Chairperson


[*] The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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