Mr President,

The Cooperative Republic of Guyana welcomes the convening of this High-level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. The ‘Meeting’ offers the international community the opportunity to commit to a comprehensive solution to a complex and chronic problem.

The refugee and migrant crises confronting the world today represent grave challenges to the international community. Images and accounts of men, women and children, who are forced to flee their homes and homelands in search of safety are transmitted daily and graphically by the mass and social media.

The international community can no longer ignore the plight of these desperate refugees and migrants. Their conditions and situations demand a commitment to address both the root causes, as well as the human consequences, which accompany these refugee and migration crises.

Conflicts within and among states are mainly responsible for most of the mass movements of refugees and migrants that we are witnessing in the world today. Refugees and migrants, however, are not the only ones affected.

Conflicts between states, if left unattended or unresolved, can escalate into regional and even global crises, which can threaten the existence of larger numbers of persons in wider areas, even beyond their country’s borders.

The root causes of conflicts around the world, which have spawned refugee and migrant crises must be addressed. Conflict-prevention and resolution must be part of the long-term response to the crisis of refugees and migrants.
The international community has a responsibility to prevent these conflicts and to usher in an era of security and of the preservation of peace between states.

Natural disaster has also, been a cause of the refugee and migrant problem. The global community must not ignore the impact which catastrophic natural disasters, including those caused by climate change, has had in triggering, which produces refugees and migrants.

Guyana is a member of the Caribbean Community. Six years ago, we were overwhelmed by the death, disease, dislocation and destruction inflicted on the Caribbean state of Haiti, a sister member of our Community.

The earthquake left thousands of persons dead and consigned thousands of others to a life as refugees in their own country. Haiti’s agony is being compounded today by the creation of new waves of refugees from the Dominican Republic.

The Political Declaration on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants offers a path towards addressing the problem of large movements of refugees and migrants, in a more coherent and comprehensive manner. The ‘Declaration’ must be backed, however, by the determination of the United Nations, to bring an end to international terrorism, state and intra-state conflicts that are active, incipient and latent.

Guyana supports the protection of the rights of all migrants. Guyana welcomes the process that this meeting will initiate for the convening, in 2018, of an intergovernmental conference on international migration with a view to the adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Guyana intends to play an active role in that process. We intend to ensure that the root causes of conflict are eliminated and that peace will prevail in the world.
Mr. President, I thank you for your attention.

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