Monday, June 17, 2024

Global Refugee Forum 2023 opens in Geneva

The three-day Global Refugee Forum 2023 (GRF) has kicked off here, with some 4,000 delegates from 165 countries expected to attend the forum.

The delegates, including refugee leaders, heads of state, and business leaders, among others, are to address the urgent challenges and long-term solutions needed for the current more than 114 million displaced people, of whom 36 million are refugees, Xinhua news agency reported.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Wednesday that he expects the event to provide an opportunity to “re-commit to some basic actions needed to respond to forced displacement: protecting people forced to flee, sharing the responsibility of those who host them … and striving to tackle the root causes of their flight”.

Currently, there are a record 114 million refugees and displaced people in the world, he said, “whom persecution, human rights violations, violence, armed conflict and serious public disorder have forced from their homes.”

He called upon participants to ensure that all refugees, regardless of where they come from, receive attention and support, and to “make this Global Refugee Forum a moment of unity, in which all of us join forces to ensure that those who flee because their life, freedom and security are threatened can find protection.”

He highlighted the major human catastrophe now unfolding in the Gaza Strip, saying that tragically, there might be more civilian deaths and suffering and also further displacement that threatens the region.

“I cannot open the Global Refugee Forum without first echoing the call of the United Nations secretary general for an immediate and sustained humanitarian ceasefire, the release of hostages and the resumption of a genuine dialogue that once and for all ends the conflict and brings real peace and security to the people of Israel and Palestine,” he said.

Grandi called on the world to also pay attention to other pressing humanitarian and refugee crises.

Held every four years, the forum is the largest international conference on refugee issues. The 2023 event seeks to focus the international discussion on solutions rather than the crises themselves.

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