ICMC Secretary General calls for a broad involvement of civil society in UN migration summit

Geneva, 22 June 2016 - Speaking as a panelist during a side event connected to the annual meeting of the UNHCR Steering Committee, ICMC’s Secretary General, Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, shared yesterday his wishes for a wide inclusion of civil society and faith-based actors in the United Nations General Assembly’s upcoming summit on large migration movements.

Msgr. Vitillo delivers his speech at the UNHCR side eventMsgr. Vitillo delivers his speech at the UNHCR side event. Photo: ICMC/Barbara Sartore The high level meeting, which will convene UN Member States’ leaders in New York on 19 September, will represent a unique opportunity for a comprehensive policy debate on large movements of refugees and migrants worldwide. “We expect that civil society will have sufficient space and voice within this process”, Msgr. Vitillo stated during his speech. “Our voices, and, most especially the voices of refugees and migrants themselves, must be considered as essential components in the preparation and follow-up of the Summit if there is any desire for its recommendations from the Summit to be taken seriously.”

Speaking alongside the refugee agency’s Assistant High Commissioner Volker Türk and other panelists from international organizations, Msgr. Vitillo cited the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) initiative (whose civil society involvement is co-lead by ICMC) as an excellent example of collaboration among governmental and non-governmental actors, which could be replicated on the occasion of the Summit. Such joint efforts would hopefully lead to more focused debates centered on responsibility-sharing, as well as on the structural factors behind large migration movements, for instance the State’s failure to promote human development.

The full text of Msgr. Vitillo’s statement is available below.