Remarks at a Meeting of the Third Committee on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Courtney Nemroff
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 31, 2018


Thank you, Mr. Chair, and to UN High Commissioner for Refugees for that thorough and inspiring report.

The United States and UNHCR remain strong partners in our effort to protect and find durable solutions for the millions of refugees, stateless persons, internally displaced, and other persons of concern around the world. The United States is committed to continue to lead the world in humanitarian assistance efforts as close to refugees’ homes as possible in order to meet their needs until they can return home safely, voluntarily, and with dignity. To this end, the United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance worldwide, including through providing nearly $1.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 to UNHCR alone. We recognize UNHCR performs an invaluable service offering life-saving support to those desperately in need.

Despite significant U.S. and other donor contributions, the gap between needs and available resources continues to grow. There must be a redoubling of efforts to share the burden, promote refugee inclusion and self-reliance, and work to end conflicts. As Secretary of State Pompeo recently stated, “The best way to help the most people is to promote burden sharing with partners and allies.”

To this end, we are grateful for the efforts of other countries to take on additional responsibilities for those in need of protection. Examples are evident on almost every continent. We applaud the many countries throughout Latin America who have generously opened their doors to the unprecedented outflow of the more than two million Venezuelans. In Africa, Ethiopia is finalizing a legally binding proclamation to expand refugees’ access to work, education, and other basic services, and recently allowed refugees to receive vital documents. In the Middle East, the Government of Jordan has committed to allowing all children access to public education and, since 2016, has issued more than 87,000 formal work permits to Syrian refugees. I could give further examples from Turkey as well, especially with respect to Syrian refugees, and in Asia Thailand’s granting of nationality to stateless persons, which has allowed them to have access to education and work.

The United States commends UNHCR for its reform efforts to date, initiated by the 2016 Headquarters Review. Including its efforts to ensure maximum efficiency, transparency, and accountability. All of these changes and more are deeply important to the United States and we seek the greatest protection for those in need and the most effective use of scarce resources.

We reaffirm our commitment to working with other governments, the United Nations, the private sector and civil society organizations as a means to increase the effectiveness of the humanitarian system.

Thank you very much.