Foreign Minister Mahat attends UN high-level summit for refugees and migrants

KATHMANDU: Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat, who is presently in New York City leading the Nepali delegation to the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, attended the High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly organised by the President of the General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York today to address the large movements of refugees and migrants.

Dr Mahat addressed the High-Level Plenary Meeting and also participated in Roundtable 5 on “Global Compact for safe, regular and orderly migration: towards realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving full respect for the human rights of migrants.” In both the meetings, he shed light on domestic policies and priorities on refugees and migrants while stressing the need of global efforts to address this pressing issue, the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations said.

Minister Mahat called for facing international migration “effectively in its entirety”. He stressed the need to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility of people through well planned migration policies with a view to realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving full respect for the human rights of migrants everywhere.

He said that the remittances economic migrants earn are not without huge and long term social, cultural and environmental costs back home. The minister emphasised the need of an effective rescue mechanism for the migrant workers in emergencies, he shared that Nepal promptly responds to such situation through immediate evacuation and other measures.

Further the minister said, all migrants are not refugees so they should be distinctively treated as such, giving example of Nepali nationals legally working in different countries as per the demands of the host countries.

Moreover, the minster appreciated the host developed countries for resettling many Bhutanese refugees. Dr Mahat stressed their right to return to their homeland, as many still in refugee camps in Nepal are eagerly waiting for long to return.

The Meeting adopted the “New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants” the text of which was finalised through intense intergovernmental negotiations in New York.

Minister Mahat also participated in the Climate Justice Dialogue on “Climate displacement and dignity: the needs of the most vulnerable countries” jointly organised by United Nations Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS and the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Change in the afternoon today. Speaking in the dialogue, the Minister called for international partnership and cooperation for adapting and mitigating the challenges faced by Nepal due to climate change.Highlighting the importance of the Paris Agreement, he said that Nepal has initiated its domestic procedures for ratification.

Also on the sideline of the High-Level Plenary Meeting, Minister Dr Mahat held a bilateral meeting with Ms María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, the Foreign Minister of Colombia earlier today.

During the meeting, Minister Mahat congratulated his Colombian counterpart and through her to the people and Government of Columbia on initiating peace process by putting an end to a half century old conflict in the country.Responding to Cuéllar's interest in Nepal’s peace process, he shared the successful conclusion of peace process in Nepal. She said that Nepal's experience would be useful to Colombia too. Dr Mahat welcomed the proposal of promoting bilateral relations as well as coffee business tie between two countries.

The Nepali delegation team led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the 71st session of the UNGA were received by Mr Durga Prasad Bhattarai, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations and officials of the Permanent Mission and the Consulate General of Nepal at the JFK International Airport in New York yesterday.

Minister Mahat  is scheduled to participate in the opening of the General Debate of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly under the theme “SDGs: a universal push to transform our world” tomorrow and also address the session on 24 September 2016.