UN Chief Calls for Action Ahead of Refugees Solidarity Summit

1817 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrives in Uganda today for the UN-backed summit to support the more than 1.3 million refugees within Ugandan borders.

Refugee protection is not a matter of solidarity or generosity, but an obligation under international law, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, detailing five strong appeals to the international community for respecting refugees' rights.

He urged Governments to manage their borders, increase their resettlement quotas, protect asylum seekers and people who deserve protection, to seek political solutions to world's conflicts which are spurring the record 65.6 million refugees, and to fund humanitarian aid work.

"We are still witnessing many remarkable examples of solidarity in today's world. But at the same time, we are seeing more and more borders being closed, we are seeing more and more refugees being rejected and, namely in countries of the developed world," he stated.

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Guterres, who was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for a decade prior, arrives in Uganda today for the UN-backed summit to support the more than 1.3 million refugees within Ugandan borders.

Some 950,000 refugees from South Sudan have crossed into Uganda since the start of the conflict in the world's newest country in December 2013. He said that the number of refugees entering Uganda, is three times higher than the number of refugees who crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe last year and credited Uganda for providing just more than protection to refugees.

The UN chief had sharp words for developed countries not doing enough to provide support for refugees or take them in despite heart breaking pleas for food, water and other basics.

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Some 80 per cent of the world's refugees are hosted by developing countries with a dramatic impact on their economy, society and security, he noted.

"This is particularly worrying, especially when associated to forms of political populism, xenophobia, racism, in which refugees become a target," He said, adding that "often times being accused of being part of the terror threat when refugees are not terrorists - they are the first victims of terror, they are fleeing terror; that is why they are refugees."

He stressed a need for governments to apply their own migration policies in their countries and urged world leaders to respect human rights and to create opportunities within their borders so that people migrate out of choice and not out of necessity.


About the author

Sylvia Nankya
Sylvia is an Editor and Media Trainer with Uganda Radio Network. She has been a URN staff member since 2013. Sylvia has previously worked as a reporter and news anchor with Radio One (2001-2009) and with Vision Group (2009-2011). Six of her active years in Journalism were spent covering the Parliament of Uganda.

Over the past few years, Sylvia has worked to promote the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language in covering conflict and post-conflict situations.

She is an Alumni of RNTC- Holland, Les Aspin Centre for Government at Marquette University-WI, USA and a Community Solutions Fellow.