World Refugee Day: UN chief calls for compassion

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With more than 68 million people worldwide displaced due to conflict or persecution, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for unity and solidarity as a first step to support them.

Guterres, who made the appeal in a message for World Refugee Day, observed on June 20, said the number of refugees was roughly equivalent to the population of Thailand.

The UN chief, himself a former High Commissioner for Refugees, reported that a person was displaced every two seconds during 2017.

“On World Refugee Day, we must all think about what more we can we do to help. The answer begins with unity and solidarity,” he added.

Guterres also expressed deep concern over the rise in the number of refugees who are not receiving the protection they are entitled to.

He added that communities, or countries, that provide a safe haven for those fleeing wars or persecution should be supported.

Later in 2018, a Global Compact on Refugees would be presented to the international community meeting at UN Headquarters in New York.

Guterres said the global gathering offers “a way forward” while also recognising the contributions that refugees make to the societies hosting them.

“As long as there are wars and persecution, there will be refugees. On World Refugee Day, I ask you to remember them.

“Their story is one of resilience, perseverance and courage. Ours must be of solidarity, compassion and action,” Guterres said.

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