Safeguarding the human rights of migrants and refugees is one of the foremost challenges in the current international order. According to the United Nations, an estimated 258 million people, approximately 3 per cent of the world’s population, currently live outside their country of origin, many of whose migration is characterised by varying degrees of compulsion. Notwithstanding that many migrants choose to leave their countries of origin each year, an increasing number of migrants are forced to leave their homes for a complex combination of reasons, including poverty, lack of access to healthcare, education, water, food, housing, and the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change, as well as the more ‘traditional’ drivers of forced displacement such as persecution and conflict.

Human rights violations against migrants can include a denial of civil and political rights such as arbitrary detention, torture, or a lack of due process, as well as economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to health, housing or education. The denial of migrants’ rights is often closely linked to discriminatory laws and to deep-seated attitudes of prejudice or xenophobia.

As most of the migrants and refugees are from the developing nations, Non-Aligned Movement has taken cognizance of this issues. NAM acknowledges the historical contribution of international migration to nations from an economic, political, social and cultural perspective and, in this regard, reaffirms the responsibility of Governments, at all levels, to safeguard and protect the rights of migrants in accordance with international and domestic laws, including applying and, where needed, reinforcing existing laws against all illegal or violent acts; in particular acts of and incitement to ethnic, racial, sexual and religious discrimination, as well as crimes perpetrated with racist or xenophobic motivation by individuals or groups against migrants, especially in the context of the global economic crisis that increases the vulnerability of migrants in host countries.

In this context, NAM has highlighted the significance of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted in September 2016, by virtue of which the UN General Assembly decided to develop an intergovernmental process towards a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. Under the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, States have made the following commitments: 1) Strengthen and facilitate emergency responses to refugee movements and a smooth transition to sustainable approaches that invest in the resilience of both refugees and the communities that host them; 2) Provide additional and predictable humanitarian funding and development support to host countries; 3) Explore additional avenues for refugees to be admitted to third countries, including through increased resettlement; and 4) Support the development and application of a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) for large refugee movements, applicable to both protracted and new situations.

The New York Declaration is a milestone for global solidarity and refugee protection at this time of unprecedented displacement. The set of commitments, agreed by Member States, reflect an understanding that protecting those who are forced to flee, and supporting the countries that shelter them, are shared international responsibilities that must be borne more equitably and predictably. In the Declaration, all 193 Member States of the United Nations reaffirmed the enduring importance of the international refugee protection regime, committed fully to respect the rights of refugees and migrants, pledged to provide more predictable and sustainable support to refugees and the communities that host them, and agreed to expand opportunities to achieve durable solutions for refugees. 47 States also committed to legal or policy changes to enhance refugees’ access to education, lawful employment and social services, substantially increased humanitarian aid; and expand access to third-country solutions.