Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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UNHCR urges EU to receive 200,000 refugees

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4.9.2015-The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has urged the European Union (EU) to accept up to 200,000 refugees as part of a mass relocation programme.

The Commissioner for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Mr. António Guterres, stressed in a statement issued today that, “this is a primarily refugee crisis, not only a migration phenomenon.  The vast majority of those arriving in Greece come from conflict zones like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan and are simply running for their lives.”

He added that no “country can do it alone, and no country can refuse to do its part… This is a defining moment for the EU, and it now has no other choice but to mobilize full force around this crisis.”

55c4c5246Mr. Guteress calls for the establishment of a “mass relocation programme, with the mandatory participation of all EU member states.”  At present, responses have differed between states and the number of refugees involved merits a coordinated response.   

“A very preliminary estimate would indicate a potential need to increase relocation opportunities to as many as 200,000 places. This can only work if it goes hand in hand with adequate reception capacities, especially in Greece. Solidarity cannot be the responsibility of only a few EU member states,” Mr. Guterres said in his statement.

Powerful images and “heart-breaking” images of children that have perished in their family’s struggles to escape conflict areas have ‘ricocheted around the world on social media.’The image of a drowned refugee boy who washed up on a beach in Turkey that was found yesterday and equally painful images of children lying suffocated in the backs of trucks crossing borders. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today made a powerful plea for action to protect migrant and refugee children. He observed that, “It is not enough for the world to be shocked by these images”, declared, they must be “Shock must be matched by action.”

Related Links:

•   UN News Centre: ‘Shock must be matched by action,’ UNICEF chief says as Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis deepens
•   UNHCR: Official Website
•   UNHCR: UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres
•   UNICEF: Official Website
•   UNICEF: Executive Director Anthony Lake

Photo Credits:

•   Cover: UNHCR A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after traveling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece
•   Second: UNHCR/ Andrew McConnell Several refugees, part of a group of about 400, shelter in a train station in Slanishte, after spending the previous day walking in the rain.

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