Protection of refugees ‘collective responsibility’: UN chief

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Kurdish civilians from Kobane cross border into Turkey fleeing ISIS attacks. File photo

Geneva (UN) – Underscoring the enormity of the plight of refugees, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today appealed for effective burden-sharing in supporting those who have been forced to flee their homes, as well as to those providing them refuge.

“This is a moment to launch an appeal – when we see so many borders being closed and when we see so many escaping their responsibilities – […] for effective burden-sharing and to make sure that the integrity of the international refugee protection regime is maintained,” Mr. Guterres said at a press encounter in Istanbul alongside Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Prime Minister.

“One area is [supporting] the countries of first asylum, support to the host communities, support to projects that can help […] both refugee populations and the host communities,” he explained.

“The second area of burden-sharing is the resettlement of refugees […] because the protection of refugees is not only the responsibility of neighbouring States of a crisis; it is a collective responsibility of the international community,” added Mr Guterres.

The UN chief also noted that his discussions in Istanbul included the situation in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan as well as the importance of rule of law and protection of human rights.

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