Phl safe haven for refugees — SOJ

Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla assured the United Nations that the Philippines is a safe haven for refugees and other vulnerable groups for more than a hundred years.

Remulla, in a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on 5 October, said the Filipinos’ culture of hospitality shapes the country’s humanitarian policies.

The country, he added, is carrying this tradition forward as it opened its doors to refugees, including women and children, in response to recent humanitarian crises.

He reiterated the Philippine government’s commitment to continue the long-standing tradition of contributing to the global humanitarian agenda.

The Philippines has been a consistent donor and strong supporter of the UNHCR, part of the country’s contribution to burden and responsibility sharing, he said.

Remulla highlighted the Philippines’ resolve to play a constructive role in multilateral humanitarian platforms, including through scaling up its engagements with the UNHCR.

Citing the country’s humanitarian priorities and recent initiatives, he added that since January this year, 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.

Good example in Southeast Asia

Grandi said the Philippines has been a good example in the Southeast Asian region.

He said the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations can contribute in realizing the need for solidarity of the international community in addressing humanitarian challenges.

Remulla will lead a Philippine delegation in the 73rd session of the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner’s Program at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on 10 to 14 October.

He was accompanied by Ambassador Evan Garcia, Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Undersecretaries Jesse Hermogenes Andres and Raul Vasquez of the DoJ, Director Jesus Enrique Garcia II of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Third Secretary Jet Olfato of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in Geneva.

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