"Much more" needed to "protect human dignity" in camps: UN chief

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visiting an IDP camp in Kitchanga, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

"Much more" is needed in terms of resources to "protect human dignity" inside camps for internally-displaced people (IDPs) around the world, the UN chief said on Tuesday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to reporters after visiting a camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and described how he himself had to flee as a boy, following the Korean War.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Ban recalled the millions killed and tens of millions forced to flee during the Korean War, and recounted his own experiences there as an IDP, aged six, in 1950.

Then as now, he said, the UN was a "beacon of hope" giving fresh water, sanitation and text books to children in need.

With 60 million people now IDPs or refugees around the world, the challenges were just as great today, he added, but the UN was doing the best it could to mobilize the entire international community to meet the challenge.

"The United Nations cannot do it alone, no country can resolve all these issues alone. We have to give hope to many young people. Particularly, we have to do much more to bring all these children back to school; we have to do much more to protect human dignity and human rights of women and girls, to save them, to protect them from sexual violence."

He said he had been humbled meeting the people of Mungote camp in the DRC, and promised the UN would work with local and central government to keep the camps open as long as they were needed.

He said UN peacekeepers would do all they could, but there were limits to the security and services that they can provide.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'14"

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