The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) has lauded as “worth emulating by Southeast Asian countries” the efforts of the Philippines as safe haven for refugees and vulnerable groups.
In a statement, the Philippine Mission in Geneva said UNHR Filippo Grandi paid tribute to the Philippines’ efforts on refugees during a meeting with Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla in Geneva, Switzerland last Thursday, Oct. 6.
The Philippine Mission said: “Mr. Grandi recognized the many positive gestures from the Philippines, citing that the country has been a good example in the Southeast Asian region.”
“Mr. Grandi reiterated the need for solidarity of the international community in addressing humanitarian challenges, and said that the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can contribute in this regard,” it said.
During the meeting, the Philippine Mission said that Secretary Remulla mentioned to Grandi the country’s humanitarian priorities and recent initiatives.
“This year alone, the Philippines has acceded to the 1961 Statelessness Convention, enacted the Foundling Act, established an inter-agency committee to protect persons of concern, and piloted the Complementary Pathways program for Rohingyas,” it said.
It also said that Remulla expressed the Philippines’ “commitment to continue long-standing tradition of contributing to the global humanitarian agenda.”
“Secretary Remulla highlighted the Philippines’ resolve to play a constructive role in multilateral humanitarian platforms, including through scaling up its engagements with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” it added.
At the same time, it said: “The Philippines has been a consistent donor and strong supporter of the UNHCR, part of the country’s contribution to burden and responsibility sharing.”
The Philippine Mission said Remulla also shared to Grandi that “Filipino cultural of hospitality shapes the country’s humanitarian policies, having been safe haven for refugees and vulnerable groups for over a century.”
“The Philippines is carrying this tradition forward as it opened its doors to refugees, including women and children, in response to recent humanitarian crises,” it said.
Remulla heads the Philippines’ delegation in Geneva on the Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the Philippines in the UN Human Rights Council and in the revalida on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The DOJ secretary is with Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Evan P. Garcia; DOJ Undersecretaries Jesse Hermogenes T. Andres and Raul T. Vasquez; Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Kira Danganan Azucena; Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Delegate Maria Teresa T. Almoquela; and other officials from the DFA and Department of Finance (DOF).
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