Fo­cus shifts to refugees as truce crum­bles

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A SUM­MIT to ad­dress the big­gest refugee cri­sis since World War II opened at the United Nations yes­ter­day, over­shad­owed by the on­go­ing war in Syria and fal­ter­ing US-Rus­sian ef­forts to halt the fight­ing.

World lead­ers will adopt a po­lit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion at the first-ever sum­mit on refugees and mi­grants that hu­man rights groups have al­ready dis­missed as fall­ing short of the needed in­ter­na­tional re­sponse.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional has la­belled the sum­mit a “missed op­por­tu­nity” to come up with a global plan while Hu­man Rights Watch has called out coun­tries like Brazil, Ja­pan and South Korea that have taken in only a hand­ful of refugees – or no refugees at all in the case of Rus­sia.

A record-break­ing 65 mil­lion peo­ple are on the move world­wide, flee­ing wars such as the car­nage in Syria, re­pres­sion and poverty, in­clud­ing 21 mil­lion refugees com­pet­ing for too few re­set­tle­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Now in its sixth year, the war in Syria has driven nearly 9 mil­lion peo­ple from their homes while an ad­di­tional 4 mil­lion have fled to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries or are mak­ing the per­ilous jour­ney to Europe.

The sum­mit kicked off a week of high-level di­plo­macy as world lead­ers are set to ad­dress the an­nual Gen­eral Assem­bly, which this year will be

dom­i­nated by the con­flict in Syria.

A cease­fire deal bro­kered by Rus­sia and the US was un­der threat af­ter rebel-held Aleppo came un­der re­newed at­tack while the US-led coali­tion killed dozens of Syr­ian sol­diers in a strike that Wash­ing­ton says was un­in­ten­tional.

Dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions lead­ing up to the sum­mit, a pro­posal by UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon to re­set­tle 10 per­cent of the global refugee pop­u­la­tion was dropped from the non­bind­ing draft dec­la­ra­tion.

Only eight coun­tries host more than half the world’s refugees: Turkey, Pak­istan, Le­banon, Iran, Ethiopia, Jor­dan, Kenya and Uganda. –

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