With ever increasing numbers of migrants moving throughout the world, the UN General Assembly declared 18 December as a day to honor the role of the migrant and the contribution that migration brings to development. The United States embassy in Belgrade marks International Migrants Day 2015, by reflecting on the millions of migrants who depart their homelands in search of safety, security and better lives, and on the thousands of lives lost this year and every year in search of these universal aspirations.
The United States embassy in Belgrade commends all those individuals, organizations and institutions who work tirelessly in Serbia and around the world every day to protect and promote the fair and humane treatment of migrants. We have witnessed the huge impact that the current migration crisis has had on Serbia, and applaud the people and government of Serbia for their generous and compassionate treatment of the refugees and migrants. Each migrant is a person with a name and a life, who departed their home often with little more than the hope of a better and safer home for themselves and their families – a goal that all of us pursue.
The United States has and will continue to support and cooperate with Serbia and other countries in their response to migration. On December 4, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the contribution of nearly $24 million in new humanitarian assistance from the United States to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that will help the UN organization to assist refugees and migrants principally in Serbia, Greece and Macedonia. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance this year to those affected by the Syria conflict is more than $1.6 billion and totals over $4.5 billion since the start of the crisis. Since 1997, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration has provided over $35 million specifically for assistance programs to assist refugees and migrants in Serbia.