UN: UNHCR chief says solutions needed to stem global refugee crisis

New York, US (PANA) - UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi on Thursday urged greater diplomatic efforts to find solutions to the conflicts and abuses driving people from their homes.

Mr. Grandi, in his debut press conference after taking office on Monday, said: "UNHCR is
navigating extraordinarily difficult waters, and we owe it first and foremost to the forcibly displaced themselves, but we also owe it to States.

"States are desperately looking for solutions to situations involving refugees," he said, stressing that, "even under more desperate circumstances we have to think of solving displacement."

He noted that there are now some 60 million people displaced around the world as a result of conflicts from South Sudan to Syria,  and pledged to work closely with partners.

The UNHCR chief also urged governments to invest more energy and resources to solving wars and conflicts and providing solutions to the causes of refugee crises.

Mr. Grandi stressed that countries which host especially large numbers of refugees, such as Lebanon, now home to over one million Syrians, need better help, and also highlighted "resettlement, humanitarian visas and family reunification as tools which can allow refugees to find safety in other countries, not through trafficking but by what we call legal pathways."

He also warned that the rest of the world was watching the continent’s response closely, and said that if Europe erected barriers and closed doors, the rest of the world would do likewise.

"The EU is struggling with an equal sharing of the burden of refugees within the Union, within the continent," he said, noting that less than 10 per cent of the world’s current refugee population was actually in Europe.

The UNHCR chief also said the massive arrival of refugees in Europe has opened the eyes of this very rich part of the world to the fact that refugees have massive needs that are not met.

He said UNHCR is ready to help refugees return home to countries that have become safe again.

Focusing on refugees and forcibly displaced people in Cote d’Ivoire and Colombia, he underlined the importance of successful peace talks and reconciliation to create these opportunities for return.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 7Jan2016

07 january 2016 20:50:28

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