World Refugee Day

Amidst the terror, violence and aggression the world is facing, we must not forget about the most important values that distinguish us as humans: humility, humanity and honor. It has become more evident that behind the face of migration we synonymously attach meanings like burden, chaos, hostility and we so easily forget about acceptance. It is time to provide a different connotation to migration, one of respect, admiration, and above all bravery.

To be a migrant today signifies above all courage, endurance and a strive for better life and a better future. We must show our utmost appreciation and respect to all migrants from all around the world, whether they be in Dadaab, Kenya to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, simply everywhere.

The implementation of effective procedures when addressing migration, the protection of migrant’s basic human rights and needs, providing shelter and proper accommodation are all important values that can create and strengthen European solidarity. Agencies such as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and many others have truly been indispensible and certainly extremely valuable for migrants.

Let us not forget the climate refugees.

The topic of climate refugees is no longer a concept: it is a sad fact.

Climate change affects nearly every aspect of human activity. Its implications range from the environment, health, security, and migration, to energy, good governance and economic development.

Each nation, each city, each town, each community and individual has a stake. It is clear therefore that the solutions must be global and that we need to forge a global alliance for action.

The United Nations has a crucial role. It is best placed to provide an integrated response to the complementary challenges of addressing climate change and sustainable development. And I commend the leadership of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in this regard.

Today, let us celebrate each life equally but most of all let us show the deserved respect and dignity to all migrants and refugees crossing borders and fighting for a better future. 


Photo Credit: Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images