Peter Sutherland has been elected as the new President of ICMC with the approval of the Holy See. During his meeting with the ICMC staff at the headquarters office in Geneva last week, Mr Sutherland presented his views on the role the organisation is to play in the years to come.
Of Irish nationality, barrister by profession and Senior Counsel of the Irish Bar, Peter Sutherland is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of business, trade, migration and integration. Serving since 2006 as the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for International Migration, Mr Sutherland has worked with governments and other stakeholders worldwide to spearhead and guide the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). Peter Sutherland also serves in a variety of political and business roles, and has published a great variety of articles and books. He received numerous awards for his work on migration and European integration.
Talking to the ICMC staff, Sutherland said: “I am enormously proud to be the President of this globally respected organization. I hope I can be of help in the work you are doing.” During his remarks, Sutherland emphasized his rejection to the concept of nationalism and his commitment to EU integration. “So many of the policy and political responses right now are utterly disgraceful, and we need to establish a clear roadmap for the future to change the narrative.” He spoke about the need for better responsibility-sharing, particularly among EU countries, including the need for solidarity towards countries most affected by refugee crises. He also noted that ICMC has a role to play in engaging the Catholic Church more proactively in migration issues. Mr Sutherland pointed to the particular concern that Pope Francis constantly expresses for migrants as a positive sign that the Church will be more closely involved in global migration debates in the future. ICMC should also help promoting the deep commitment of the Church and highlight its role in protecting migrants.
Johan Ketelers, Secretary General of ICMC, welcomed Peter Sutherland as the new President of ICMC: “We are very privileged to have you as our President. Over its 63 years of existence, ICMC has gone through difficult times, but has managed to build an expertise in tackling refugee and migrant issues, defending—both on the ground and in advocacy—the dignity and rights of each human being on the move, and is today recognized as an important player at the global level. We are confident that thanks to your own renowned expertise, commitment and energy in this field, we will be able to contribute to bringing about further change that will benefit refugees, internally displaced, and other migrants.”