Statement by Ambassador H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar on 7.10.2015 during the General Debate in the 66th Session of Executive Committee of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

66th Session of Executive Committee of the
United Nations High Commission for Refugees
[Geneva, 7 October 2015]

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the UN during the General Debate


Mr. Chairperson,

1. I wish to place on record our deep appreciation to you for smooth conduct of the deliberations of the Executive Committee meeting.


2. India takes this opportunity to convey its deep gratitude and admiration for the leadership role of the High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Antonio Gutteres of the Refugee Agency over the last one decade. His vision and sagacity has transformed the Agency into an effective body truly responsive to the needs of the refugees worldwide. We also acknowledge the commitment of the High Commissioner and his staff in their tireless efforts to implement the core agenda of UNHCR- that of protection of refugees in the most trying and difficult circumstances. We wish the High Commissioner Gutteres the very best in his future roles.


3. We also pay tribute to UNHCR staff, who lost their lives in the line of duty.


Mr. Chairperson,

4. I take this opportunity to renew India’s commitment on protection of refugees and cooperation with UNHCR in discharging its core mandate and responsibilities for protection of interests of refugees and working towards durable solutions.


5. We recognize that global forced displacement has become more widespread, protracted and complex than ever before. This has naturally presented an unprecedented protection challenges. We, therefore, believe that such unprecedented developments need innovative and humane responses from UNHCR and other humanitarian actors. In this connection, we note the usefulness of ten-year strategic review to the UN General Assembly in November 2013, which took stock of the major evolutions in refugee protection over the past decade and how they shape the future outlook.


6. We are deeply concerned at the rise in numbers of refugees, particularly in Middle East and North Africa Region. Lack of proper treatment of refugees and ignoring the responsibilities by countries that are signatories to the Refugee Convention and its Protocol are further complicating the problem, far from solving it.


7. India expresses appreciation to UNHCR in addressing the multiple emergency situations in various parts of the world and progress made in bringing solutions for various refugee situations through implementation of comprehensive solutions strategies. The decisions taken by various host countries to offer nationality through naturalisation, regularisation of stay, offer of long term visas, employment opportunities, and access to education and health will certainly help in integration of the refugees in the local society and lead towards durable peace and prosperity in the region.


8. Our endeavour should always direct towards finding durable solutions for refugees and displaced people, as this is the best form of protection. We understand that there are political complexities which limit the implementation of voluntary return in many cases. However, bilateral and regional dialogues amongst countries involved are necessary to reassure the refugees of safe and stable return to their countries of origin. We also support the High Commissioner’s views on close coordination between humanitarian and development actions, partnership and innovation for maximising the outcome of the global action.


9. We understand that the UNHCR is having acute financial challenges to address the on-going programme and meet the requirements of the emerging challenges.  In order to address the challenges, we call upon UNHCR to bring efficiency in its functioning, work towards localisation of solutions, promote local leadership, move towards cash-based incentives, wherever possible; further reduce overheads and improve upon its procurement process, among others.


10.   We want the international community to acknowledge the crucial role of developing countries in addressing the refugee issue. The developing countries host around 80% of today’s refugees but a recognition to this contribution remains subdued primarily because the host countries contributions are never monetised and hence does not become the part of the financial statements. In this context, ExCom should devise ways and means of recognizing this intangible, but yet a yeomen contribution in addressing the global refugee situation.


11.   India’s assimilative civilizational heritage, inherent capabilities as a State with a good record of non-refoulement, hosting and assimilating refugees gives us a rounded perspective on dealing with matters pertaining to refugees and other persons of concern. India has a tradition of receiving refugees and migrants since millennia. We remain committed to these principles as these have been part of Indian ethos and civilization.


12.   Mr. Chairperson, we once again reiterate our commitment towards a constructive and cooperative engagement with UNHCR in its efforts to effectively address the ever growing complex refugee situation globally.


Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.



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