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Assistant High Commissioner,
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
2. We are grateful for this opportunity to know directly from you about the Global Compact on Refugees in New York. We welcome your endeavours to make the process of formal consultations inclusive and transparent under the leadership of UNHCR.
3. We are strongly convinced that the Global Compact on Refugees is an opportunity to modernize refugee responses and bring a much more robust involvement of development actors. This is fully in line with the EU approach to forced displacement and the humanitarian/development nexus.
4. The EU and its Member States are also convinced that the Compact can be a unique opportunity to strengthen cooperation internationally in the area of asylum with those states that are not actively engaged in the global refugee response, signatories of the Geneva refugee Convention or members of the UNHCR Executive Committee. We welcome the approach of comprehensive, mutual responses combining host country leadership and reliable external support to such leadership, in the spirit of the New York Declaration of 2016.
5. In line with the non-binding nature of the Compact, it is clear that no legal obligations can arise from it, neither for host countries, nor for donors, resettlement countries or other actors. The Compact seeks to foster comprehensive responses through a cooperative framework and an improved system of burden- and responsibility-sharing.
6. We welcome that UNHCR has incorporated many of the comments made during the first round of consultations and strengthened the language in many sections of the first draft. We also welcome a number of additions such as: food security, nutrition and statelessness.
7. We would encourage referring throughout the text to "refugee flows” instead of “large flows” since the absence of specification could risk generating confusion regarding the scope of the Global Refugee Compact and overlaps with the Global Migration Compact. We recall our previous comments on the importance to avoid potential misunderstandings or creation of new legal categories. We would also recommend throughout the text a more detailed reference to data protection principles, as well as references to persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, to LGBTIQ, victims of trafficking as well as to pregnant women and people with disabilities. Finally, the text should consistently use terminology ‘promoting and protecting human rights’ when it refers to human rights.
8. The EU and its Member States have expressed their observations in Geneva through a common EU statement and common EU written comments. We refer to our comments there for further details about our position.
9. Thank you.