Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Wednesday for countries around the world to accept around half a million Syrian refugees, criticizing political leaders who have responded to the migrant crisis by demonizing asylum-seekers.
Opening a one-day ministerial conference in Geneva convened by the United Nations refugee agency, Mr. Ban called for “an exponential increase in global solidarity” in urging countries to accept about 480,000 Syrians over the next three years.
“Neighboring countries have done far more than their share,” Mr. Ban said, alluding to the nearly five million refugees taken in by Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. “Others must now step up.”
More than a million migrants reached European shores last year, and the European Union has struggled to come up with a coherent and effective response to the huge influx of people fleeing conflict and persecution, most notably in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Attempts to criticize such people were “not only demeaning, offensive and counterproductive. They are factually wrong,” Mr. Ban said, stressing the skills and human resources they bring to host countries. “I call on leaders to counter fear-mongering with reassurance, and to fight inaccurate information with the truth.” Read more