Increase support and refugee resettlement quotas, urges UN chief

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Secretary-General António Guterres (right) addresses journalists at a press conference at UN Headquarters. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Stronger solidarity and support for developing countries who are hosting millions of refugees is "a must," said the UN chief at a press conference in UN Headquarters on Tuesday.

Secretary-General António Guterres made five appeals, largely aimed at countries in the developed world, to help ease a refugee crisis that has led more than 65 million people to flee their homes.

More details from Matthew Wells.

Marking World Refugee Day, Mr Guterres devoted most of his first major press conference in New York to the millions on the run due to conflict, persecution and instability.

He drew a sharp distinction between the issues and problems associated with economic migration and the status of refugees, which had just made a crisis situation worse, fuelling an irrational debate.

The UN chief said that all countries needed to re-establish fundamental protections for refugees, and acknowledge that there was no humanitarian solution to the exodus of people from war-zones such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The solution had to be political, he added, although it was vital to fully fund the humanitarian appeals from the UN and partners that are providing life-saving support to hundreds of thousands of refugees.

He said a special responsibility lay with the richer developed world nations.

"Countries are asking those in the developing world that host the largest number of refugees to keep them, but they are not providing the necessary support for that to be possible. Stronger solidarity to refugee hosting countries in the Global South is absolutely a must. Finally I ask countries in the developed world to increase their resettlement quotas, at least to the levels that we had two or three years ago."

Mr Guterres pointed to the millions who have poured into countries such as Lebanon and Uganda.

He said that tiny Uganda, with its small economy, had absorbed three times more refugees from South Sudan in the past year, than the total crossing the central Mediterranean.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'31"

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