UN chief calls for action on World Refugee Day
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres takes part in a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, US, June 20, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on World Refugee Day on Tuesday that refugee protection is not a matter of solidarity or generosity, but an obligation under international law.
Guterres urged governments to manage their borders but also to increase their resettlement quotas and protect asylum seekers and people who deserve protection. He called for governments to find political solutions to world's conflicts which resulted in a record 65.6 million refugees, and to fund humanitarian aid.
"We are still witnessing many remarkable examples of solidarity in today's world," he said in a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York. "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."
Guterres, who was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, announced that he would be leaving on Tuesday for Uganda, which hosts a UN-backed summit this week to support the more than 1.3 million refugees within its borders for the next four years.
About 950,000 refugees from South Sudan have entered Uganda since the start of the conflict in South Sudan in December 2013.
The secretary-general said about 80 percent of the world's refugees are hosted by developing countries with a dramatic impact on their economy, society and security.
He said that the UN General Assembly will hold two key debates next year with the aim of agreeing on two compacts – one on refugees and one on migration.
He said refugees and migrants are two different situations: refugees crossing borders, fleeing conflict or prosecution, [and] economic migrants who aspire to have a better life and move from one country to another.