Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message today, on the occasion of the launch of the Global Framework on United Nations Support on Syria/Iraq Third Country National Returnees:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we convene on an urgent matter directly affecting dozens of Member States across the world.
After the collapse of Da’esh in Iraq and Syria, thousands of foreign nationals were hastily detained in prisons and camps. Some had travelled to the conflict zone to join the fighting, others on the misguided promise of a better life. Some were forced to go by family members or community leaders. Others may have committed crimes under duress or after being trafficked. Some were still children, others simply born there.
Those detained today include at least 42,000 foreign women and children — most under the age of 12 — in overcrowded camps in north-east Syria. Many have now spent more than five years without basic services in increasingly dire conditions. They are routinely denied human rights.
At the same time, victims and survivors of terrorist acts are denied justice and support while perpetrators have impunity. Until we address these human rights issues in a comprehensive manner, the international community will continue to face long-term security risks.
Excellencies, this situation cannot go on. The Global Framework on United Nations Support on Syria and Iraq Third Country National Returnees provides a solution to end it without delay. It provides integrated technical and financial support to address the urgent human rights and humanitarian needs of returnees from Iraq and Syria. It responds to justice and security concerns in an age-appropriate and gender-responsive way, while also protecting children and victims.
To Member States that require assistance: I encourage you to immediately make use of the Global Framework. To the donor community: I urge you to support this vital and timely effort by contributing generously to the Framework’s Multi-Partner-Trust-Fund.