World facing biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time, says Ban

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre right) connects with a refugee at a Syrian settlement in the Beqaa Valley, eastern Lebanon, during his visit there in late March 2016. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The world is facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of the modern era, the UN Secretary-General warned Friday.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking at an event on forced displacement in Washington DC co-hosted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Bank.

Almost 60 million people are living either as refugees, internally displaced or asylum seekers as result of conflict and persecution, the UN estimates.

Janie Cangelosi has more.

The UN Chief called on global leaders, especially those in Europe, to show "greater solidarity" by offering not just aid, but resettlement and other safe legal pathways to help refugees, those displaced and asylum seekers.

Internal displacement and refugee crisis are signs of deeper challenges, Ban Ki-moon added.

From Syria, to Afghanistan, South Sudan and Somalia, he urged the global community to get to the root of the conflicts.

"I think we are facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. This is not just a crisis of numbers, how many people we have to deal with, this is a crisis of solidarity; this is a matter of compassionate leadership for humanity."

Mr Ban shared his personal story of growing up as a refugee during the Korean War in the 1950s when he was just 6 years old.

He fled with his parents and recalled feeling hungry most of the time, but was able to benefit from aid distributed by the United Nations.

Ban Ki-moon said the organization was his "lifeline" at the time.

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations

Duration: 1’03″

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