When a family or an individual has lost everything, a safe place to live is the first step to recovery.
Dear Minister Sekulović, ambassador Rising-Reinke, dear colleague Bouchardy, ladies and gentlemen, I am very much honored to address you on this important occasion.
As every year, World Refugee Day is dedicated to people around the globe who were forced to flee their homes due to conflicts and persecution. This day is an important reminder for all of us that we must extend our solidarity, compassion, and generosity to those displaced and forced to leave their homes. No one is a refugee by choice. Care for refugees is a global responsibility and we must all work together to ensure no one is left behind.
When a family or an individual has lost everything, a safe place to live is the first step to recovery. For refugees, shelter underpins everything: it is key to restoring personal security, self-sufficiency, and dignity after conflict. The shelter is not just a roof over one’s head – it is also, among other, inclusion in a community and the ability to give back to those offering refuge.
That is why inclusion is at the heart of this year’s World Refugee Day – in health, sports and in society.
Inclusion also underpins the 2030 Agenda – a global development plan seeking to leave no one behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
In a world facing a pandemic, the Agenda offers a universal and inclusive vision of a sustainable world that cannot be achieved without considering the rights and needs of refugees. Each day we learn that only by working together can we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this in mind, I am very pleased that many initiatives in Montenegro have embodied this notion, earning a well-deserved reputation for upholding humanitarian principles in the fair and equal treatment of refugees. Montenegro has continually demonstrated solidarity since the break-up of the Former Yugoslavia and ever since generously provided refuge to people forced to flee their homes, working to ensure effective measures and actions are in place to strengthen the support and their inclusion in Montenegrin society. This approach is not only rooted in the Agenda 2030 but also part of the Montenegrin EU accession process, which stands as a confirmation of their synergies and a testimony that the two can benefit one another.
At the same time, the Government, the UN, UNHCR, NGOs, and the refugees themselves are all equally expected to give their utmost in the following period to ensure refugees are included and self-reliant and thereby able to contribute positively to the Montenegrin society. The support of the international community is indispensable to achieving this goal.
With our sister agency UNHCR leading the way in this area, I assure you that the entire UN family stand ready to support the Government in these endeavours. I thank everyone for standing with us in our commitment to ensure no one is left behind.