Islamic Relief welcomes the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees. Earlier this year we responded to early drafts of the Global Compact, calling on the UN and its Member states to:

Increase global funding for refugee protection and basic needs, enact legislation to uphold refugee rights, commit to resettling larger numbers of refugees and combat xenophobia and foster positive relationships between refugee and host communities.

Pressing them to ensure high quality education for every refugee child, adequately fund sexual and gender-based violence services and prevention programmes, provide psycho-social support services for refugees and actively involve faith-based actors at a local, national and international level in delivering protection and assistance for refugees.

The UN created this Compact in response to the most acute refugee crisis in recent history. There are more than 25.4 million refugees in the world the highest number on record. Over half of them are children. And the vast majority – 85% – are currently hosted by developing countries. Millions of refugees around the world are being denied their basic rights, from housing to healthcare, to education and livelihoods. Over two-thirds of refugees have been unable to return to their home countries for five years or more.

Islamic Relief has been responding to forced migration crises since its inception in 1984. We continue to work to meet the needs of refugees, internally displaced people, asylum seekers and returnees in 26 countries around the world. Islamic Relief’s experience of working with refugees in numerous countries highlights particular policies that world governments must promote.

We believe that increased global funding for refugee protection and basic needs, with states, especially wealthy countries, re-committing to providing adequate funding for refugee emergencies, is vital. Faith-based actors at local, national and international levels should be considered in the joint planning and delivery of protection and assistance for refugees and provision of support to host communities, including in the areas of conflict prevention, reconciliation and peacebuilding.

Naser Haghamed, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, said:

“For over 30 years Islamic Relief has been on the frontline of responding to refugee crises.  By providing refugees with shelter, food, clean water, access to education, livelihoods support and counselling to cope with the traumas refugee communities endure, we have worked to protect the dignity of those fleeing persecution and violence. We call on the UN to maintain the momentum generated by the Global Compact on Refugees and fulfil their moral responsibilities to refugees around the world by upholding the rights of refugees, investing adequate funding into meeting their needs, providing financial and technical support to host states and working towards providing sustainable solutions to displacement.”

We are pleased that the Global Compact on Refugees is committed to this set of principles, and are heartened by the overwhelming political support the Compact has received.