The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies takes a profound interest in this item. The work of the Commission on Human Rights at its 60th Session, and in particular the appointment of Professor Kälin as the Secretary-General's Representative on the human rights of displaced persons was a particularly important milestone in the evolution of international understanding of the priority of the issue.
The vulnerabilities and rights of IDPs are a major concern for the International Federation and for National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies everywhere in the world. For this reason, we are particularly pleased by the emphasis Professor Kälin has given to the issue of protection in his report, contained in document E/CN.4/2005/84.
We very much agree with the reasoning he has applied to the need for a special focus on the vulnerabilities and protection needs of IDPs. The absence of international protection as it is commonly understood within the context of the 1951 Convention on Refugees by no means eliminates the validity of international concern for the application of a high human rights standard to IDPs and others with special needs because of their displacement or removal from their homes.
Much of the debate about the situation of IDPs in the past has placed the vulnerability and special needs in a conflict-related context. We well understand that this is the context which most often generates media attention, but we have argued for some time that there needs to be more attention to the displacement impact of natural disasters.
Some of our concerns have been highlighted during the recent tsunami crisis.
There is insufficient time in this debate to offer a great deal of detail, but it is important to record that protection issues which have arisen, and which are being addressed by the International Federation and its National Society members, protection from displacement, include access to assistance, discrimination (also in the provision of assistance), enforced relocation, sexual and gender-based violence, safe and voluntary return or resettlement.
This is why the International Federation trusts the Commission and Professor Kälin will take all opportunities to emphasise the relevance of the Guiding Principles to natural disaster situations. It is a message which we consider needs to be kept fully in mind by all governments and all international community officials as they do their work.
We will be working to ensure that contributions to recovery in the wake of the tsunami crisis include strong reference to these points for the persons displaced. In this spirit we look forward to working with Professor Kälin to help integrate points relevant to persons displaced by natural disasters in his important on-going work.
In doing so, we will be pleased to make use of his report from the working visit to the tsunami affected region in February-March 2005, and especially its recommendations on the protection of IDPs in natural disaster situations. We agree with his broad conclusions, and look forward to uniting the work of National Human Rights Institutions and our National Societies on the subject.
My delegation, in its contributions to debate under other items during this Session, has spoken of several different entry points to debate on discrimination. One which is of growing concern to us and our National Society members is discrimination based on straightforward difference, or xenophobia.
There are few groups of people more vulnerable to xenophobia than persons who have migrated and find themselves trying to make a livelihood in a new land, even if they are only intending to be in that new land for a short time.
This is why we are strong supporters of the principles surrounding the 1990 Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.
Migrant workers constitute a significant proportion of the much wider group of persons living in a country other than their own. This wider group is continuing to grow in the modern globalising world, but much too little is being done by government to address the consequential needs of communities and nations as demographics change.
We have said in many other debates that Governments need to work much more actively to enact legislation providing mainstream human rights to those in their territory who, for one reason or another, are not citizens.
At the same time, Governments must ensure that access to those rights is available to persons who are not citizens. Globalisation is not just about economies. It is also about people and their opportunities. It is not possible to harvest the economic rewards of globalisation without paying proper attention to the dignity and the humanitarian quality of the persons who make those rewards possible.
This is true in all countries. In the developed world, economies now depend on a population with the numbers and varied skills required for their continuing growth. It is no secret that this growth would not be available except for migration, yet many developed countries have yet to enact coherent migration legislation which supports the growth.
Migration is, of course, not only a South-North movement. There are equally compelling needs for developing countries to build coherent legislation on migration - with the same growth objectives as need to be fitted into that legislation in the developed North.
In all countries, migration legislation needs to start from the premise that population movement has been with our world since people learned to walk, and that it will remain with us for ever. Legislation should be designed to facilitate movement to encourage growth, not to build walls.
Walls have many insidious effects. The permanence of the phenomenon of human movement means that walls will not work. People will find ways around them, often by breaking the law. This multiplies the interest of organised crime in helping people evade law, and contributes significantly to issues of smuggling and trafficking which are headline issues for other United Nations institutions.
This is why we see the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as having a priority task in helping integrate human rights concerns into the population movement debate.
We look forward to opportunities for further discussion on this important issue in the future, and also at the national level through contact between National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with their governments, within the framework of their relationship as auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field.