50 coun­tries to take in 360,000 refugees

The Myanmar Times - - World -

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama urged coun­tries to “wel­come the stranger in our midst” at a sum­mit that drew pledges from 50 coun­tries to take in 360,000 refugees.

“We are fac­ing a cri­sis of epic pro­por­tion,” said Mr Obama, speak­ing at a US-led refugee sum­mit at the United Na­tions.

“We can­not avert our eyes or turn our backs. To slam the door in the face of these fam­i­lies would be­tray our deep­est val­ues.”

Some 50 world lead­ers took part in the sum­mit – their par­tic­i­pa­tion con­di­tional on mak­ing new com­mit­ments to ad­dress the world’s largest refugee cri­sis since World War II.

“Col­lec­tively, our na­tions are roughly dou­bling the num­ber of refugees that we ad­mit to our coun­tries to more than 360,000 this year,” Mr Obama an­nounced.

In par­tic­u­lar, seven coun­tries – Ro­ma­nia, Por­tu­gal, Spain, Czech Repub­lic, Italy, France and Lux­em­bourg – com­mit­ted to re­set­tle or ad­mit at least 10 times more refugees than in 2015, ac­cord­ing to US of­fi­cials.

While the new pledges would al­low more asy­lum seek­ers to re­build their lives, it rep­re­sented a frac­tion of the 1.1 mil­lion refugees who are in need of re­set­tle­ment in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the UN refugee agency.

Coun­tries also boosted fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to UN ap­peals and in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian or­gan­i­sa­tions by about US$4.5 bil­lion over 2015 lev­els.

The pledges in­cluded funds to en­sure ac­cess to schools for 1 mil­lion refugee chil­dren and en­abling 1 mil­lion refugees to work legally. A record-break­ing 65 mil­lion peo­ple are on the move world­wide, in­clud­ing 21 mil­lion refugees flee­ing the war in Syria and other con­flicts. –

Photo: AFP

French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande (cen­tre) shakes hands with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama (sec­ond right) as UN Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Ban Ki-Moon (right) looks on dur­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York on Septem­ber 20.

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