Inter-Parliamentary Union fostering Refugee Inclusion in COVID-19 and Humanitarian Responses
In response to COVID-19, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ensured that refugees were included in its roadmap for action on women’s, children’s and adolescents' health (Handbook for Parliamentarians N° 31) and Guidance Notes for Parliaments on COVID-19 and Human Rights and COVID-19 and Gender. These Notes recognize the disproportional impact felt by forcibly displaced populations during the pandemic, particularly refugee women and girls, and provide recommendations for parliaments on ensuring inclusive responses. The Handbook included guidance on parliamentary actions to support refugee women, children, and adolescents’ access to health in humanitarian and fragile settings and an overview of innovative financing to support refugee health.
On 19 August 2020, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, delivered an opening segment on human mobility at the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments (19-20 August 2020) co-organized by the IPU, the Parliament of Austria, and the UN. As a result of this special session, a commitment was made by speakers of Parliament to support the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and responses to statelessness in the Declaration on parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet:
“Humanitarian efforts must remain non-politicized, people-centred, responsive to the specific needs of women and girls, as well as age and disability responsive, and based on the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality. This includes recognizing and implementing the Global Compacts on migration and refugees. We need to strengthen our collective response to forced displacement, keeping up the momentum generated by the first Global Refugee Forum.”
Pan-African Parliament (PAP) towards Ending Statelessness
The PAP submitted five pledges at the GRF and the High-Level Segment on Statelessness. In support of their pledge, Members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) committed to crafting a Model Law on the subject of ‘Statelessness in Africa’ in collaboration with UNHCR, legal experts, and the PAP Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution.
Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) Safeguarding Refugee Rights
In 2020, the IPA CIS have advanced their pledge on an approval process for a Model Law on Refugees. This work on a model law aims to provide a template for improving national legislation and establishing minimum standards related to asylum for the parliaments of Member Nations (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine).
Multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote solidarity and international responsibility-sharing
The IPU, the Centre for European Policy Studies, and UNHCR co-hosted a roundtable on Parliamentary Responses to Solutions for Forced Displacement in the IGAD Region, mobilising IPU’s pledge to strengthen the engagement of the parliamentarians in support of national pledges. Members of the European Parliament and National Parliaments of the IGAD region discussed priorities to ensure global responses are comprehensive and include commitments in the GCR and the Nairobi Declaration. Discussions explored how to strengthen parliamentary engagement in the IGAD support platform and develop peer-to-peer exchanges for cross-regional solidarity.