Vancouver Declaration on Drowning Risk Reduction of Migrants and Refugees

At the recent World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2017, in Vancouver, a working group of delegate collaborated to provide a statement on behalf of all the delegates present, with the aim of influencing the risk reduction effort of global migration and refugee drowning. This declaration was inspired by the personal account of refugee drowning given in Vancouver, by Ms. Tima Kurdi, the aunt of the “boy on the beach” Alan Kurdi – a three-year-old who drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015. The photo of his lifeless body on the beach generated global headlines and prompted international response.

Drowning Prevention Auckland supports this Declaration, and the recommendations for Global Action contained within it.

  1. All nations and communities honor and implement the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  2. All communities, governments and global agencies work to achieve peace, equality, acceptance, education, safety and health for all;
  3. Legal and safe transit routes should be established to facilitate passage of migrants and refugees seeking safety;
  4. All vessels used for water transportation must be legal, safe, have adequate safety equipment, suitable lighting, skilled crew, and are appropriately loaded;
  5. All nations and vessels fulfill their duties under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue;
  6. Refugees and migrants may have a disproportionate drowning mortality risk after settlement in countries of relative safety. Drowning risk reduction needs community partnership effort, to integrate, empower, provide knowledge, skills and attitudes to ensure ongoing water safety. Inclusion of all communities in drowning risk reduction education, activities and programs is proposed; and
  7. A Global Partnership for Drowning Prevention should be established, as recommended in the WHO Global Report on Drowning, as the preferred method to coordinate a strategic approach to migrant and refugee drowning risk reduction.

Download the full statement here WCDP 2017 – Migrant and Refugee Statement