Ban Ki-moon urges EU to respect refugees' rights

UN chief asks authorities 'standing in the way of the rights of refugees to stand in their shoes'

Ban Ki-moon urges EU to respect refugees' rights

World Bulletin / News Desk

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged European countries to respect the rights of refugees fleeing war and persecution in their home countries.

"I ask those standing in the way of the rights of refugees to stand in their shoes,” Ban told a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis in decades, with thousands of asylum seekers from Middle Eastern and African countries trying to reach the continent.

"I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated. It is not acceptable," the UN chief said, referring to the treatment of refugees on Hungarian and Serbian borders. 

Hungary, in particular, has been on the frontline of the latest crisis, as the central European country placed a series of restrictive measures resulting in extremely limited access for refugees at the border.

It also began to return asylum-seekers to neighboring Serbia, arguing that Serbia is a safe country where refugees do not face war and persecution.

"All countries have their domestic problems. But since they are the people fleeing wars and persecutions, then we must show our compassionate leadership," Ban added.

The UN chief also commended efforts by countries neighboring Syria that have helped desperate families fleeing a civil war that has claimed more than 250,000 lives since 2011.

"Nearly 10 percent of Syria’s pre-war population, some 2 million people, today live in Turkey," he said, adding that Syrian refugees now make up 25 percent of Lebanon's population. 

The UN refugee agency says 95 percent of the latest million Syrian refugees have gone to Turkey, which has become the world's largest refugee hosting country. It is hosting more than 1.9 million registered Syrian refugees.

The agency says 1 million Syrian refugees are hosted by Lebanon, 629,000 by Jordan and 250,000 by Iraq.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Eylül 2015, 09:13