The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) strengthened their partnership this week with the signature of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary-General and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
The agreement builds on more than 20 years of strategic engagement between the two organizations to ensure parliamentarians at the national and regional levels have access to accurate information about asylum systems and the issues affecting refugees, internally displaced and stateless persons. The IPU has often been the link between parliaments and the work of UNHCR by encouraging its Member Parliaments to use their oversight of legislative, policymaking, budgetary, and opinion-shaper functions to introduce law proposals and adopt amendments towards more inclusive legal frameworks and to translate the Refugee and Statelessness Conventions into national legislation.
The signing of the MoU is part of the pledge made by the IPU at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in December 2019 to support the Global Compact on Refugees and the #IBelong campaign to end Statelessness.
The 1961 Statelessness Convention, adopted 60 years ago this month, has seen a significant increase in the number of State accessions over the last decade. If all States applied the safeguards included in the 1961 Convention, no child would be born stateless. Today 77 States are party to the 1961 Convention on Statelessness.
More about IPU-UNHCR joint work
June 2021: Adoption of a resolution and publication of a report in support of refugees by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The PACE resolution, the “Role of parliaments in implementing the United Nations Global Compacts for Migrants and Refugees” encourages European parliamentarians to champion and apply the principles and arrangements outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Migration.
May 2021: Adoption by the IPU Assembly of political statement to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, calling on its members to accede the Convention and support the implementation of GRF pledges involving parliamentary action.
February 2021: Global webinar on “Parliamentary action to end statelessness by 2024”
September 2020: IPU-CEPS-UNHCR Roundtable on ‘Parliamentary Responses to Solutions for Forced Displacement in the IGAD Region’ mobilizing parliamentary engagement in the Support Platform and solidarity between Members of the European Parliament and of IGAD countries.
August 2020: Commitment was made by speakers of the European 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.
IPU Pledges submitted at the Global Refugee Forum
In 2019, IPU pledged to support implementation of the GCR and the I-Belong campaign by:
Mobilizing engagement of members of parliament on forced displacement and statelessness issues; committing to raise awareness at each IPU Assembly.
Engaging MPs, and in particular young parliamentarians and women parliamentarians, and support them in taking action in support of refugees and host countries.
Together with UNHCR, collecting good parliamentary practices and disseminating them to the parliamentary community, as well as organizing dialogues, training and capacity building initiatives for MPs around legislative work complimentary to national pledges.
UNHCR works closely with the IPU to map out key actions required and identify parliamentary capacity needs to implement these pledges by:
Supporting parliaments in building technical structures and skills through seminars
Supporting parliaments in developing multi-year action plans in implementing national pledges and national/regional partnerships for action to implement national pledges