Senator Isaac V. Figir Addresses the World’s Parliamentarians at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland

On March 27, 2018, Senator Isaac V. Figir of the 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) addressed the world’s parliamentarians at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on the Assembly’s theme of “Strengthening the global regime for migrants and refugees: The need for evidence-based policy solutions.”

Senator Figir started his speech by warning the participants that forced displacement of people is a global phenomenon that defines our age today, and that globally people are being displaced not by choice, but because of safety, economics, or ejections by ill justifications of “the wrong ethnic group, the wrong religion, the wrong skin color.”

The Senator explained that even the people of the Federated States of Micronesia are also at risk of moving from their much-loved islands and way of life to escape the rise of sea level and other threats of climate change. The Senator also explained that despite this risk, migrants and refugees from elsewhere are ending up on the shores of Pacific island nations “seeking a better life, pursuing security and maybe happiness.”

Senator Figir challenged the parliamentarians from around the world to fight a possible numbness to this global issue of migrants and refugees, and the ill treatments of such displaced people. “This is a problem of global magnitude that demands global solutions… no country is too big to care or too small to evade responsibility when it comes to migrants and refugees," pleaded Senator Figir.

To this point, the Senator mentioned that the FSM Congress made a contribution of $100,000 to IPU to deal with the problems of migrants and refugees. A portion of this contribution went towards the creation of the Handbook for Parliamentarians No. 27 – A Guide to International Refugee Protection and Building State Asylum Systems, which was jointly published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and distributed during the Assembly.

Although admittedly small, the Senator explained, the FSM’s contribution “represents per capita one dollar for every man, woman, and child in [the Federated States of Micronesia].”

Other local indicatives the Senator also shared includes the upcoming FSM Law Day debate in July 2018 where in secondary school students will debate on a theme revolving around international standards of the treatment of migrants and refugees. The Senator hopes that this national initiative will allow Micronesians to seriously think about the issues of migrants and refugees affecting Micronesia and the rest of the world.

As the migration and refugees crisis in the Middle East is evident, Senator Figir also urged the parliamentarians for their countries to appeal to the United Nations “not to decrease support for the organization dealing with Palestinian refugees.” Further urging all countries represented at the 138th IPU Assembly “to do what it can to settle the [refugees] problem of Syria.”

The 138th IPU Assembly brought together nearly 750 parliamentarians from around the world to Geneva from March 24 – 28, 2018. Speaker Wesley W. Simina led the FSM Congress delegation, which included Vice Speaker Esmond B. Moses, Senator Alik L. Alik, Senator Isaac V. Figir, Legislative Counsel T. Lam Dang and Information Officer Andy P. Choor.

For more information on the outcome of 138th IPU Assembly, including the Assembly Declaration on the theme which also outlines the important role parliaments will play in transforming the goals of the two global compact on migrants and refugees into national laws, please visit www.ipu.org.

For more information on other FSM Congress News, please visit www.cfsm.fm.

 

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