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The Global Refugee Forum 2023

Statement by International Development Law Organization (IDLO), delivered by Mark Cassayre, Permanent Observer of the International Development Law Organization to the United Nations

The Global Refugee Forum
15 December 2023
Geneva, Switzerland
High Commissioner,
Distinguished Delegates,

The International Development Law Organization is pleased to participate in this second Global Refugee Forum.

For the past 40 years, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) has been devoted to promoting the rule of law for peace and sustainable development. IDLO has seen the tangible benefits of investing in the institutions of governance across the justice chain and of putting people at the centre of justice, including the most vulnerable.

Refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, and stateless persons, need to have access to justice mechanisms.

In that light, IDLO is pleased to have completed the four pledges we made at the 2018 Global Refugee Forum, thereby contributing to improved access to justice for affected persons and strengthening national institutions that support refugees and displaced persons.

Building on IDLO’s fulfilled commitments made at the first GRF, at this second Global Refugee Forum, IDLO is pleased to announce its commitment to support the GRF outcomes through the following activities:

First, legal assistance for and legal empowerment of refugees and other displaced persons. Under IDLO’s Community Justice Programme in Uganda, IDLO will continue provision of support to legal aid service providers and direct support to the state justice law and order sector institutions that provide legal aid services in Northern Uganda, including to refugees and displaced persons from South Sudan.

Second, legal advocacy, policy engagement, and asylum capacity development. Under its program “People-Centered Approach to County Governance in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties in Kenya,” IDLO will foster inclusive and participatory development processes at the county level, including development of policy and legal frameworks to respond to climate impacts that include refugees and displaced communities from Ethiopia and Somalia.

Both of the aforementioned programs have people-centred designs that focus on vulnerable and marginalized communities, which includes support for economic inclusion of refugees, displaced or stateless persons, as well as gender-based violence work that supports these communities.

Third, IDLO has been very pleased to partner with UNHCR on the issue of statelessness, including through our joint publication “Addressing Statelessness Through the Rule of Law” and our participation in the Global Alliance to End Statelessness. We will continue our engagement with the Global Alliance through our Geneva-based advocacy work and collaboration.

As we have heard from the High Commissioner and delegations in this room, the world desperately needs to address the problem of rising numbers of people displaced by conflict, climate, and instability.

If we are to address these drivers of displacement, the world needs to invest more in justice and the rule of law.

SDG16 is a key enabler across all the SDGs and fosters peace and sustainable development, enabling people to thrive where they are. IDLO will continue reinforcing SDG16 across all the intersecting issues on which it works, including on climate, food, health, and gender, among others.

IDLO looks forward to partnering with governments, civil society, communities, and other stakeholders to improve rule of law mechanisms and enhance access to justice.