World Refugee Day – ITUC Backs UN Call for Solidarity

photo: UN Photo/Sahem Rababah

The ITUC has supported a call by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, for solidarity with the world’s 68 million refugees. According to the UNHCR, around 90 per cent of refugees are displaced within their own country or countries next door.

“Trade unions welcome refugees in our workplaces and our communities, and we insist that they have the same rights as others, including full protection and rights under labour law. Unions are at the forefront everywhere of providing solidarity with refugees, and with migrants generally, and in opposing the populist and extreme right-wing political forces that promote division, xenophobia and hatred,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

The international trade union movement is working to ensure that the UN’s Global Compact on Refugees, to be adopted this year, sets clear standards based on solidarity and equal rights.

“We must remember that by far the largest number of refugees are in developing countries, and international support is vital, including through aid and resettlement programmes. At the same time, the international community needs to tackle the factors that force people to flee their homes – armed conflict and other violence, lack of food and water and, increasingly, climate change. While many countries live up to their obligations under international law, it is deeply distressing to see the surge in vilification of refugees and the inhuman treatment by some governments. The latest example, with the US forcibly separating families and detaining children in cages, is simply horrendous. Multilateral efforts are needed to deal with the enormity of this and many other pressing global challenges. Retreating from multilateralism is completely the wrong direction,” said Burrow.