UN refugee chief calls for countries to keep borders open to refugees

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Antonio Guterres

The head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has reiterated his call for countries to keep their borders open for refugees and to provide financial assistance to the agency.

Antonio Guterres told reporters in Geneva on Friday that there were 800,000 new refugees last year and by the end of September this year 700,000 people had fled across borders because of conflict.

Mr. Guterres said the agency is at the moment dealing with four simultaneous crises in Syria, Mali, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At the same time, he added, the agency is also still facing the impact of last year's crises in various parts of the world, including Somalia, Yemen, Côte d'Ivoire, Colombia, and Myanmar.

"In these very dramatic circumstances in which we are really overstretched I want to make two appeals, the first appeal to all countries to keep borders open. Neighbouring countries of the present crises have kept their borders open. I urge them to go on keeping their borders open but also for other countries around the world where refugees from these crises are able to go to also open their borders and allow them to find adequate protection. And second, a very strong appeal for financial support to our operations worldwide."

(Duration: 29")

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