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Malta Asks UN For Greater Help

Malta Asks UN For Greater Help In Dealing With Costs Of Illegal Immigration

New York, Sep 25 2006 5:00PM

Mass illegal immigration from Africa to Europe is causing real hardship for countries such as Malta, the nation’s Foreign Affairs Minister told the General Assembly today as he called for greater support from other United Nations Member States to share the burden.

Speaking at the Assembly’s annual debate in New York, Michael Frendo said Malta and other arrival countries needed help not just to absorb the economic and physical cost of receiving the asylum-seekers, but to tackle the criminal groups that “are taking advantage of the aspirations of human beings who have lost all hope.”

He urged the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist with the resettlement of refugees, noting that Malta had the second highest number of asylum applications last year in the European Union (EU).

“No country can tackle such an overwhelming phenomenon on its own,” Mr. Frendo said, stressing that smaller nations such as Malta face particularly acute difficulties.

“Illegal immigration needs a holistic approach internationally, stretching from combating criminal organizations, particularly in the countries of origin and of transit, from the strengthening of border control, to the promotion of good governance, economic development and the rule of law, to the resettlement of refugees and perso΅s with humanitarian status and to the return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin and transit and their reintegration in society.

In their addresses to the Assembly today, the Foreign Ministers of three other European countries stressed the importance of multilateralism in dealing with problems that transcend national borders.

Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said “we live in a tightly inter-connected, interdependent and transparent world” that no organization or forum is more appropriate for helping each other than the UN.

Mr. Rupel praised the decision by leaders at last year’s World Summit to enshrine the idea of a “responsibility to protect” peoples from genocide, ethnic cleansing or gross violations of human rights.

“We regard this as a conceptual breakthrough,” he said, urging Member States to make sure they do not allow the tragedies that occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s to now happen in Darfur or anywhere else.

Reinforcing that concern about Darfur, Kinga Göncz, the Foreign Minister of Hungary, said she hoped this session of the General Assembly would bring advances in elaborating the concept of “responsibility to protect.”

Ms. Göncz said Hungary also welcomed the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Human Rights Council and the Democracy Fund over the past year, although she added that UN management reform is still to take place and the membership of the Security Council has not yet been broadened.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said Council reform will not be complete until there is an enhanced representation from Eastern Europe in recognition of the substantial increase in the number of countries in that region since 1991.

Mr. Tarasyuk joined Ms. Göncz and Mr. Rupel in calling on the UN to take special care in determining the future status of the province of Kosovo, stressing that any decision should not be imposed on the parties.


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