Countries increase pledges for refugees during US-hosted UN summit

Countries pledged to increase their humanitarian spending, double the number of resettled refugees and improve refugees' access to work and school during a high-level summit on Tuesday hosted by US President Barack Obama.

Held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the summit aimed to mobilize nations and international organizations around the world to increase assistance and funding to help relieve the plight of refugees, most of whom come from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

"I called this summit because this crisis is one of the most urgent tasks for our time, our capacity for collective action," Obama said.

"We cannot avert our eyes or turn our backs - to slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values."

With the pledges announced during the summit, participating countries have increased their total humanitarian funding in 2016 by 4.5 billion dollars over 2015 levels. They have also doubled the number of resettled refugees and created school access for an additional one million refugee children.

An additional one million refugees have also been provided with the opportunity to work lawfully.

"I really count on your strong leadership, and in particular, compassion," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said at the summit.

"Your compassion will really help these helpless people. If not us, who can do it?"

The summit was co-hosted by Ban and leaders from Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden.

Last update: Tue, 20/09/2016 - 23:57
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