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Statement by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the General Debate of the 67th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR

Mdm. Chair,

Mr. High Commissioner,

The Chinese delegation would like to thank the High Commissioner for his report on issues such as international refugee protection and the future direction of the UNHCR, and express our appreciation for the efforts of the UNHCR and the countries concerned in increasing international protection of refugees and seeking solutions to the refugee issues.

As a result of regional turmoil, terrorism and the imbalance of development, the number of global refugees has reached a record high since the Second World War. The refugee issue constitutes a humanitarian crisis, tests the conscience of mankind, and challenges the capacities of all countries for refugee protection. Developing countries, having received the majority of global refugees, face a heavy burden on their economic and social development. In some countries and regions, xenophobic sentiments against refugees are rising, and the protection of the basic rights of refugees is precarious. Trans-boundary organized crimes such as human smuggling and trafficking are rampant.

The high-level plenary meeting on refugees and migrants of the 71st Session of UNGA held last month adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, which identified a timetable and a roadmap for strengthening global cooperation on refugees. This session of the Executive Committee, the first of its kind after UNGA, bears special significance. Here, the Chinese delegation would like to make the following remarks.

First, humanitarianism should be upheld and serious efforts made to provide assistance. All countries should follow the principle of non-refoulement enshrined in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and fulfill in earnest their obligations in refugee protection. What is most urgent is to increase policy and financial support for refugee protection, and effectively protect the basic rights and interests of refugees such as dignity, safety and development. While paying attention to the crisis in Europe caused by the influx of refugees, it is also necessary to be clear about its disastrous effects in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan.

Second, there should be targeted solutions to tackle both the symptoms and root cause of the problem. People are essentially driven away from their hometown by war, conflict, poverty and backwardness. Therefore, all countries should uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, settle disputes through dialogue, and address differences through consultation, so as to reduce the number of refugees and displaced persons produced by war and instability. It is also important to promote a more balanced, inclusive and sustainable world economy, and bring the origin countries for refugees onto the track towards enduring stability, development and prosperity.

Third, there should be international cooperation to tackle the issue in a holistic way. To resolve the refugee problem, a sound framework of global governance is indispensable. The international community should accelerate the implementation of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, give full play to the coordinating role of the UNHCR, and formulate and implement comprehensive solutions. The countries of origin, transit and destination should assume their respective responsibilities in light of their capabilities. Discriminatory and xenophobic practices against refugees must be eliminated and joint efforts made to combat smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism.

Fourth, resources should be consolidated to maximize the efficiency. China supports UNHCR’s continued efforts to improve internal coordination and effectiveness, allocate and use resources in a reasonable manner, and strengthen emergency response capabilities to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis. In carrying out projects, the UNHCR should increase coordination and cooperation with the countries concerned, and improve the efficiency of refugee protection. It is important to stay true to the humanitarian nature and avoid politicising or abusing the refugee protection mechanisms.

Mdm. Chair,

As a permanent member of the Security Council and the largest developing country, China is committed to upholding world peace, promoting common development, pursuing political solutions to hotspot issues, and making our own contribution to resolving the refugee issue. China has provided humanitarian assistance worth 685 million RMB to Syria and other Middle East countries, and is working diligently to fulfil the commitment of providing 100 million US dollars of humanitarian assistance to relevant countries and international organizations announced by President Xi Jinping at the G20 Antalya Summit last year. During the recent High-level meetings of the 71st Session of UNGA, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared that China would provide as much as 300 million US dollars worth of humanitarian assistance to relevant countries and international organizations, actively consider using some financial resources of the China-UN Peace and Development Fund to support refugee work in developing countries, and actively explore tripartite cooperation with relevant international organizations and developing countries on refugee issues.

China will truly fulfil its commitment and put in place the above-mentioned measures of assistance. At the same time, China is ready to continue to strengthen our cooperation with the UNHCR and endeavour with all other countries to promote international protection of refugees and work for a comprehensive and durable solution to the global issue of refugees at an early date.

Thank you, Mdm. Chair.

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