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Statement by Mr. Tetsuji Miyamoto
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 41:
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Third Committee
Sixty fourth session of the General Assembly
3 November 2009

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of my delegation, I would like to express my appreciation to High Commissioner António Guterres for his update and the Secretary-General for his report. Particularly from the perspective of human security, Japan takes a great interest in protection of these vulnerable groups and their empowerment which is indispensable for durable solutions. We therefore highly appreciate the work of the UNHCR.

(Support to UNHCR and its structural reform)

Mr. Chairman,

In recent years, the need for humanitarian assistance has increased due to a greater incidence and severity of natural disasters resulting from climate change and other factors, as well as the prolonged complex emergencies. Against this background, we are concerned about the impact of the current financial and economic crises on humanitarian assistance. However, as a major donor country, Japan will continue to strengthen its partnership with the UNHCR and continue to support it as much as possible.

UNHCR, for its part, should make every effort to continue to update its organizational structures to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its assistance and to allocate more of its resources to the field. The Government of Japan has always been a supporter of the UNHCR's reform process in this regard. We commend the streamlining of Headquarters and the efforts to introduce Results-Based Management through the Global Needs Assessment and FOCUS. We wish for this reform process to be consolidated and even strengthened. We hope that the introduction of the new budget structure will further enhance the efficiency and efficacy of the UNHCR's work, in addition to deepening the understanding of this work among the donor countries, host countries and other relevant partners. We expect that these reforms will lead to stronger relations among us.

(Addressing the displaced persons)

Mr. Chairman,

The reports of the Secretary-General presented to us this year contain a number of useful conclusions and recommendations. In connection to this report, I would like to make three points.

First, we fully support the necessity for all parties, including non-State parties, to facilitate humanitarian access. We commend the UNHCR staff members who often serve in difficult and dangerous situations. At the same time, we deplore the increasing attacks on humanitarian personnel, including UNHCR workers. All parties must ensure humanitarian access to innocent displaced persons. On 19 August this year, we commemorated the first World Humanitarian Day in the UN Headquarters in New York with the participation of the Secretary-General and a number of ambassadors and officials of the Member States to the United Nations. We truly hope that the commitment to humanitarian assistance activities made in New York will result in a decrease of victims in the field.

Second, we agree with the importance of the development and universalization of the normative instruments. We welcome the initiative of African countries to adopt a new Convention on the Protectionand Assistance of IDPs in Africa. We also welcome Slovenia's new membership of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UNHCR. It is vital to further respect the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. We call upon Member States which have not yet acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol to consider their accession.

Third, the root causes for displacement should be addressed. In complex emergencies, it is vital to develop political and peace process and to deal with the various problems faced by displaced persons in the peacebuilding phase. We witness that the resolution of disputes over the property rights of displaced persons, including land ownership, as well as the clearance of landmines are impediments to reconciliation and the establishment of durable peace worldwide. This past May, the Peacebuilding Commission addressed the issue of the reintegration of displaced persons by adopting the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in the Central African Republic. Since the reintegration of displaced persons is a global problem, we should develop similar strategic frameworks in other parts of the world.

A series of earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters in Asia this fall newly displaced many people. We cannot prevent natural disasters, but we can mitigate the impact of these calamities through risk reduction efforts. In fact, we believe that such efforts can drastically reduce new displacement. All counties can benefit from implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action and must therefore make every effort to do so. The United Nations can also cooperate and contribute in this regard.

(Japan's commitment)

Mr. Chairman,

The UNHCR must address the problem of protracted refugees, respond to the needs of IDPs, and tackle new challenges such as urban refugees. Structural reform of the organization is needed if the UNHCR is to cope with such a variety of challenges. We expect High Commissioner Guterres to continue to display his strong leadership in response to this necessity. We look forward to Mr. Guterres' visit to Japan later this month as an opportunity to discuss the activities of the UNHCR and Japan's contribution.

As a demonstration of its commitment to refugees, Japan will start a pilot resettlement project in FY 2010. In the first project of this kind in Asia, Japan will receive refugees from Myanmar. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UNHCR, traditional resettlement countries and other relevant parties for their assistance and support throughout the development of this pilot program.

Thank you for your attention.

Related Information (Refugees)
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