OIC, UNHCR sign Action Plan for 2017-2018

Jeddah (IINA) � The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed an Action Plan of cooperation for 2017-2018, at OIC headquarters in Jeddah on Thursday.

The objective of the plan is to enhance cooperation and advance the strategic humanitarian partnership between UNHCR and the OIC, said OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Ambassador Hesham Youssef, who signed on behalf of the secretary general.

The Action Plan will include reinforcing the partnership to respond to common challenges in terms of the protection and assistance to refugees, particularly from OIC member states, he added.

The areas of cooperation also include improving international burden-sharing as opposed to burden-shifting to countries hosting large numbers of refugees by meeting the needs of host governments and local population as well as those of refugees.

The two sides would also focus on promoting the asylum and protection system deeply ingrained in the Islamic principles and its cohesion with the international protection mechanism for refugees and asylum seekers.

On the issue of mixed migration flows, the Action Plan stipulates that the OIC and UNHCR would work together to provide protection for the migrants at the sea and combat trafficking, kidnapping and smuggling.

The two parties would also collaborate in finding durable solutions to the main protracted situations in the OIC area. This Plan of Action is a significant milestone in the process of the strategic partnership between the OIC and UNHCR, commented UNHCR Regional Representative for the GCC Khaled Khalifa, who signed on behalf of the UNHCR high commissioner.

We are hopeful it will contribute towards building a structured approach to addressing the refugee problem in the OIC member states and mitigating the humanitarian suffering of the displaced people and the heavy burden shouldered by hosting countries and communities, Khalifa added.

The two organizations would work together on the Action Plan in line with the agreement signed between the two sides on 5 July 1988 and in light of the Ashgabat Declaration of the OIC Ministerial Conference on Refugees in the Muslim World, signed in May 2012.

Source: International Islamic News Agency