Notes on the World Humanitarian Summit

Human Rights Must See No Borders

World humanitarian summit

Dianova is a member of the NGO Committee on Migration, a forum where more than 50 organizations in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) come together to encourage the promotion and protection of migrants and their human rights worldwide. Dianova stays active in this field as it develops programs on humanitarian aid and on international protection for migrants in Spain. Within the Committee’s umbrella, we exchange information, education and awareness on issues related to global migration, and we advocate for the inclusion of appropriate migration-oriented policies in the UN and member states’ planning and social policy considerations.

Early this month in the Committee’s meeting we had the opportunity to hear the testimonies from organization that had been in Istanbul, Turkey, for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). The Summit was called by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, so that States could reaffirm their commitment to humanity and plan a course for change.

The WHS was preceded by a comprehensive report from the Secretary General, in which he stressed the need for States to move from crises management to crises prevention, to deter situations where people are forced to leave their homes, and to safeguard everyone’s right to thrive. Likewise, Ban Ki-moon called for the respect to the rules of humanitarian law during conflicts, and for the commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals while investing in local capacities to reduce people’s risk, vulnerability and needs.

Furthermore, civil society participation was much below expected, given the current concentration of humanitarian aid arrangements in place at the WHS host country. Finally, the Summit was not able to deliver enforceable commitments and monitoring mechanisms to properly address the protection and promotion of rights of those affected by the numerous humanitarian crisis, including the situation of millions of children, women and men refugees worldwide.

As it seems, the WHS fell under the necessary level of commitment the moment asks for. Nevertheless, the Summit was undoubtedly an important step to open a global dialogue for shared responsibility among States, as individuals in various areas of the world are facing growing challenges related to conflicts of different sorts, climate change, health crisis, hunger, deep inequality, etc. In September this year States will have two other important opportunities to set steadier grounds in the field of migration and refugees, during the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants and on the US-led forum on the topic.

In observance of the World Refugee Day held on Monday, June 20, Dianova calls on all States to fully commit to theses forums and to advance with binding documents of policies and measures needed to add up to the protection of refugees and migrants, with the understanding that human rights must see no borders.

Saionara König-Reis