The Annual Consultations with NGOs took place from 28 to 30 June 2011 at the International Conference Center, Geneva, Switzerland.
For the second time, the Association Vasa prava BiH took part in the consultations using it as an important platform for dialogue and networking, as well as an opportunity to discuss issues at the heart of our mutual concern for refugees, internally displaced people and the stateless persons.
UNHCR’s partnership with NGOs is longstanding and the consultations have been held now every year for more than two decades. More than 320 participants from over 150 NGOs took part in this year’s consultations.
António GUTERRES, High Commissioner for Refugees gave the opening address and reiterated that UNHCR’s ability to protect and assist refugees has always depended on the quality of its partnerships, particularly with civil society. That partnership is especially significant this year as we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees.
The agenda for this year’s consultations focused strongly on protection, reflecting the growing complexity of the faced challenges. The better ways to identify and assist those falling through gaps in the international protection system need to be found , as well as to share more equitably the responsibility for hosting displaced populations and to be more effective in counteracting the growing tendency to racism and xenophobia in many countries and regions.
Vasa prava BiH had a series of meetings with senior UNHCR managers and various NGOs from all over the world to discuss issues of common concern and share information and ideas. Once more it proved to be outstanding opportunity to promote it’s newly acquired ECRE (the European Council for Refugees and Exiles) membership and solidify its position as a human rights organization that has outgrown its national role and is capable to play significant role in the regional protection activities.