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25 July 2018
Positive Cooperation with the UN's Help on Migration
By Stephen F. Moseley, President, UNA-NCA

In the midst of so many frightening stories regarding the stalemate among countries to address the global migration crises, some remarkable stories in the past weeks highlight how international collaboration encouraged by the UN can make a difference. 

On July 22nd, in the dark of the night, Israeli forces helped more than 400 White Helmets flee Syria to Jordan through a corridor in Israel. These volunteer emergency workers saved thousands of civilian lives in Syrian war zones but found themselves stranded in an emergency situation. The United Nations urged the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Jordan, and Israel to cooperate and arrange their escape from Syria with transport and border crossings into Israel before crossing into Jordan. The collaborative nations are also working together to create a process by which these brave volunteers will reach their later settlement from Jordan to the U.K., Canada, and others (not including the United States). The extraordinary efforts by these countries to save the White Helmets and their families demonstrates the values shared in this operation can overcome what otherwise has been a month of little to no cooperation on so many global issues about migration and related peace initiatives.

In the face of its own economic and political struggles, Jordan has been outstanding in its hospitality for migrants from the region and has worked to address the historic influx of refugees over the past few years. In this rescue effort, the leaders of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. directly participated in seeking and receiving help from Israeli leaders to conduct the mission in partnership with all of the participating countries. While a very unique circumstance generated this humanitarian goodwill and cooperation, it is nevertheless an important and encouraging sign of willingness to find a solution together.

At the UN on July 13th, 192 Member Nations approved the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration agreement aimed to make migration safe and orderly amid issues of national sovereignty and international cooperation. This new agreement reflects the increasing migrant crisis and is an important sign that it is possible to begin to overcome the mistrust and difficult obstacles surrounding the more than 250 million migrants, straining resources and triggering fear from foreigners and nationalist tensions since 2015. This official Non-Binding pact addresses why people migrate, how to protect and integrate them into new countries, means of returning them home, and other issues. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly, stated to the Press after the agreement was reached that “Migration is a fact. It has been here for centuries. It is here to stay for centuries to come.” Ambassador Jurg Lauber of Switzerland, who helped run the pact negotiations, called it “a catalog of measures" rather than a “one-size fits-all" set of rules.

The United States withdrew from negotiations in December, citing the agreement was not compatible with U.S. sovereignty over its national borders.

Regrettably, the recent tragedy of the United States’ actions and inhumane treatment of families by separating children from parents seeking asylum in the U.S. from Central America, is now no longer part of the global effort to be well informed through the lessons and ideas set forth in this new pact.  

In December, the pact negotiated in New York at the United Nations headquarters will be presented in a formal adoption process set by the UN at a meeting in Morocco.

On a global scale, the two events in the past weeks, a specialized leadership alliance challenged with rescuing White Helmets and arranging their migration in addition to establishing a pact to better address future migration among 192 nations, are examples of collaborative achievements that are worth noting, creating cause for the celebration of hope for humanitarian values and actions.

In all of our programs, UNA-NCA gives special emphasis to the values of human rights for all, especially as we approach the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, 2018.

We invite all our members and the community to attend and support UNA-NCA’s annual Human Rights Awards program recognizing both international and local community leaders for their Human Rights excellence on December 6, 2018.