President Stevo Pendarovski addressed today the International Refugee Protection Forum, organized by the Refugee Law and Migration Center at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” at the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius“ in Skopje, in cooperation with the UNHCR Office in North Macedonia and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to greet you on the International Refugee Protection Forum, organized by the Refugee Law and Migration Center at the Law Faculty, at the University Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje in cooperation with the UNHCR Office in North Macedonia and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo.
This conference is a strong example of much needed multilateralism and international cooperation. Conflicts, terrorism, the pandemic, socio-economic and financial instability continue to disrupt ways of life around the world. They continue to threaten human rights and freedoms, provoking humanitarian disasters of high magnitude and unprecedented numbers of refugees – persons in need of protection as they flee persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
States have the prime responsibility when it comes to refugee protection and human rights. This is why we must lead in holding up the commitments made by the Global Compact on Refugees and in the Global Refugee Forum.
As signatory party of the 1951 Convention and through its long-standing cooperation with the UNHCR, North Macedonia has shown solidarity with refugees from many conflicts in the recent history. From the wars across the former Yugoslavia in the 1990-ties to hundreds of thousands that passed the country in 2015 and 2016 – we have worked incessantly to provide protection to those people and remain a staunch supporter of shared responsibility globally.
After the fall of Kabul recently, guided by a sense of moral obligation and solidarity, endorsing our international obligations and in line with our tradition, we immediately announced our readiness to host Afghan refugees.
COVID-19 challenged our ways of live on many levels, and in the same time pushed us towards reconsidering our attitudes about various aspects of life. Yet, under no circumstances, we should allow the pandemic to serve as a justification for the lack of solidarity.
Through this years of great challenges, we will need ever stronger and deeper partnership and solidarity. In this regard, it is going to be of critical importance, distinguished experts and academicians, as well as practitioners with profound experience in the field, to give us recommendations for what the states, civil society, the private sector and all the people with good will, can do together in the field of refugee protection in order to expand pathways for giving the hand to those in need in days of disorder.
Allow me to extend my best regard to all of you, I wish all of you good health and productive debates on the main topic of the conference and I really do hope to see you next time in person.
I thank you for your attention!