GAIN Secretariat and UNHCR
Human Rights Centre
Claire Simmons GAIN@essex.ac.uk
Please join us for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Global Conference: 70 Years of Protecting People Forced to Flee.
In 2020, UNHCR celebrated 70 years of providing international protection to refugees and of assisting governments in seeking permanent solutions for those forcibly displaced. The 1950 Statute saw the refugee phenomenon as an aberration that would be resolved in a reasonably short period. However, 70 years later there are now over 70.8 million persons of concern to UNHCR, 85 per cent of whom are hosted in low- or middle-income countries.
UNHCR’s mandate has expanded and includes refugees, asylum-seekers, persons internally displaced and stateless persons. Furthermore, the ‘good offices’ of the High Commissioner are often sought vis-à-vis persons who would not otherwise qualify for protection. The challenging environment of refugee protection as UNHCR enters its eighth decade has taken on yet another dimension with the affirmation in 2018 of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which, while not legally binding, it is based on a strong commitment by States to enhance refugee protection and inclusion alongside fairer and more predictable burden- and responsibility-sharing
The opening ceremony will serve as a global introduction to the two days of regional panels commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Hosts will welcome participants, provide an overview of the agenda and key themes to be discussed during the conference. This session will open a global conversation where participants will be able to initiate discussions and submit questions relating to upcoming regional sessions.
The ceremony will take place at two different times to allow for different time zones, with different discussion panels for each session. The two discussion panels will address what protection and solutions for the forcibly displaced mean today from an international perspective.
You can find out more about the global conference, including links to all the regional events, on the GCR webpage.
Moderator: Geoff Gilbert, Chair of GAIN, University of Essex