I would like to thank the Director of the UNHCR Office in New York, Ruven Menikdiwela, and the Director of the IOM Office in New York, Pär Liljert, for their informative remarks.
Thousands of people die every year in the Mediterranean. For this region, the "Missing Migrants Project" of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has counted 28,105 missing migrants since 2014. We know that there are many more who have not been counted. These are not just numbers. These are individual fates. Switzerland is deeply concerned by this situation and expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims, who more often than not have no news of their loved ones.
Migration flows are a common concern for countries of origin, transit and destination. Consequently, governments on all continents have a common interest, a moral duty and an obligation to act. This is why it is essential for states to work together and strengthen the protection of these vulnerable people along the migratory routes. We would like to make three points in this regard:
Firstly, we need to combat the trafficking and exploitation of migrants. Better protection of migrants, especially those in distress, is essential. This means strengthening respect for their human rights. Switzerland works for the protection and sustainable integration of refugees, displaced persons and migrants in regions of first reception and along migration routes. When refugees and migrants do not find sufficient support in the first host countries, they are often forced to continue their journey to other regions or countries, often in perilous conditions. They risk becoming victims of human trafficking, other human rights violations, or having to resort to the services of smugglers. It is imperative to put an end to this dangerous dynamic.
Secondly, we must tackle the root causes of forced displacement. The continuing increase in forced displacement is caused by armed conflict as well as the consequences of climate change. In this respect, the Security Council must strengthen its commitment to crisis prevention and to the protection of civilian populations affected by armed conflict and its consequences. This includes a sustained commitment by the Council to strict compliance with international humanitarian law, international refugee law and human rights law.
Thirdly, in order to tackle these issues effectively, strong partnerships are needed. Only a multilateral system adapted to today's challenges can address this problem on a global scale. This is why Switzerland is working with other countries, particularly within the framework of the Rabat Process. We also maintain other partnerships such as the "Global Alliance for Missing Persons" established in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which aims to improve the prevention and resolution of cases of separation and disappearance. Through these efforts, Switzerland is committed to improving the search for missing persons and restoring family ties.
The World Refugee Forum to be held in Geneva in December 2023 represents an excellent opportunity to announce new multi-stakeholder commitments and exchange best practices, as well as to inspire greater burden and responsibility sharing. Let us use this key moment to advance refugee protection, while continuing to address the root causes of forced displacement by working, as a Security Council, for international peace and security.