UNHCRs ministerkonferens i Genève 7 december 2011
Tobias Billström, Migrationsminister
Tobias Billströms välkomstanförande vid öppningsceremonin av UNHCRs ministerkonferens, på engelska
Your excellencies -
It is a great honour for me to be here today and to co-chair - together with my distinguished Egyptian and Australian colleagues - this truly historical event, where we commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the fiftieth anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
The world was quite a different place sixty years ago when the founding fathers of the Refugee Convention gathered here in Geneva to enhance assistance and seek solutions for the millions of refugees that were displaced across Europe after the Second World War. Today's world is more fast-moving, interconnected and dynamic. We have technical, logistical and digital tools that they could not dream about sixty years ago.
At the same time, conflict, violence and persecution persist, forcing millions of people around the world to leave their homes to find protection in other countries. Refugees and stateless persons still remain some of the world's most vulnerable people. Therefore the Refugee Convention - with its core principle of non-refoulement - has continued value and relevance in today's world as the cornerstone of the international protection regime.
UNCHR has a unique and important role as the keeper of the Convention. Over the years the Organization has delivered protection and assistance in all major refugee crisis' on all continents around the world. The Organization has actively contributed to the safe return and other durable solutions to millions of displaced persons. And I would like to take this opportunity to commend all the brave and dedicated women and men who have served UNHCR throughout the years, and pay tribute to the ones who have lost their lives in the course of doing so.
This Anniversary event is not only an occasion to look back and remember the efforts that have been made so far to protect and assist refugees and stateless persons. It is also an opportunity to reflect over the changing global trends and make new commitments and pledges in order to strengthen solutions and enhance burden sharing for the persons of concern of the Conventions.
I am happy that so many Ministers and high-level representatives have come to take part of this important debate and I am pleased to extend to you all a very warm welcome to this Commemorative Event.