Written by Lara Palmisano

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

September 21, 2014 New York – Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees attended the Plus Social Good Summit yesterday Septembre 21, 2014 in New York City and raised important points about refugees in a highly inspiring speech.

It is shocking to that in 2013, over 30 thousand people were displaced daily, and today there are 51 million displaced people around the world. It is also interesting that 86% of global refugees are hosted by developing countries. Movement is this mostly from south to south, and not south to north.

But “refugees are more than just a statistic, behind each number there is a human tragic story, and vulnerable lives in highly risk of human traffic and slavery” said Antonio Guterres.

The trafficking of women and exploitation of children is one of the worst crimes and nearly 30 million people are in slavery today. “Fighting drug traffic receives much more support than fighting human traffic because people don’t think it can happen to them. We need to do everything we can to stop these atrocities” Guterres commented.

Government support worldwide is essential, but while some states are very sensitive, others are very reticent.

Changes are needed in immigration policy and massive development in infrastructure as well. There is a need for more flexible immigration policies, and more legal ways for people to cross borders.

The main problem is that the international community is losing its capacity to stop conflicts.

We live in a world where challenges are growing more rapidly than humanitarians can respond. Global refugee resources go up, but the number of new refugees goes up more. It is not a question of funds.
It is a question of capacity.

“I am shocked by leaders that engage in conflict and completely disregard the suffering of their people” said Guterres, ‘the truth is migration is an essential part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Diversity is richness, perspectives and positive contribution. For countries with low birth rates, for example, immigration is essential. We need to look into the movement of people as a positive contribution to our society”.

For a country to receive refugees should be a matter of pride, a way to express your belief in humanity.

We all have a role in this issue, and the most important thing that we can do is to convey the simple, important message: tolerance is essential and diversity is richness.