Europe urged to adopt human rights-based approach to refugee crisis

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greets a young refugee girl on the Greek island of Lesbos. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Detention is not the answer to Europe's refugee crisis, according to the UN Secretary-General who urges countries to adopt a "humane and human rights-based approach" to address the challenge.

Ban Ki-moon made the call on Saturday from the Greek island of Lesbos, where he met with refugees from some of the world's most troubled places.

His visit came ahead of World Refugee Day, commemorated this Monday, 20 June.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN Secretary-General described Lesbos as "an island of peace" and its people as "a sea of solidarity."

Refugees who have lived through horrors have  found relief from war and persecution there, he said.

But Mr Ban stressed that across the region, conditions for refugees are worsening.  

Meanwhile, scores of people continue to flee their homelands.

"The international community must do more to resolve conflicts and address the factors causing so much suffering and upheaval. We must also stand together against border closures, barriers and bigotry, and against the criminals and predators who traffic in human beings…I call on the countries of Europe to respond with a humane and human rights-based approach. Detention is not the answer.  It should end immediately. Let us work together to resettle more people, provide legal pathways, and better integrate refugees."

Globally, nearly 60 million are on the run due to conflict and violence, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

The UN General Assembly will hold a high-level summit in September to address large movements of refugees and migrants.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’25″

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