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GA3: Two Resolutions on the Protection of Migrants

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (shown on screens) addresses the opening segment of the United Nations high-level summit on large movements of refugees and migrants. - UN Photo/Cia Pak (2016)

In quick succession on Saturday afternoon, the body passed Resolutions GA3 II/1 and II/2 by a vote of 38 in favor, 0 opposed, and 8 abstentions and 47 in favor, 0 opposed and 8 abstentions, respectively. Both resolutions are about the protection of migrants and address the added impact of COVID-19.

The first resolution (II/1) encourages the creation of monitoring technology with the goal to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to prevent further human trafficking. The resolution asks that Member States make more efforts to improve the conditions for refugees, including sanitation, a known factor that can contribute to the spread of the virus. The resolutionalso encourages monitoring technology to track refugees, displaced people and human trafficking while remaining anonymous to protect human rights. 

Resolution II/2 states the need for protection of all migrants during the pandemic, which includes the spacing and sanitation of shelters and maintaining public health initiatives when migrants are placed. Member States are also encouraged to focus their efforts locally and assist other members if they are able. According to Maggie K., the representative from Japan, this resolution is about “respecting the sovereignty of States while encouraging States that couldn’t accept migrants to help others.” The resolution also includes operative clauses to help integrate migrant women and children into society.

The quick adoption of these resolutions is due in large part to the relationships of the members of the committee. “Seeing relationships of groups change over time… it’s something that I didn’t anticipate,” says Matthew O., the representative from Denmark. The committee, “did a good job talking to everyone and taking in different views,” adds Maggie.

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