Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today discussed the refugee and migrant crisis with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, as he continued to confer with European leaders on what has become the biggest influx of people into the continent in decades.
“This has been part of a series of calls he has made to European leaders in recent days, in which the Secretary-General has stressed the individual and collective responsibility of European States to respond responsibly and humanely to the arrival of refugees and migrants in Europe,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters.
Mr. Ban has spoken recently with the leaders of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, appealing to them to be “the voice of those in need of protection” and to quickly find a joint approach to address their basic needs.
“The Secretary-General,” Mr. Haq added, “has assured European leaders of the United Nations readiness, through its agencies, in particular UNHCR [the UN refugee agency], to continue supporting their efforts to develop a response that is effective, feasible and in line with universal human rights and humanitarian standards, including the right to claim asylum.”
In a separate development, the UN chief welcomed the initiative by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make $2 million available to National Olympic Committees for programmes focused on refugees. The IOC already works with a number of UN agencies, notably UNHCR.
Mr. Ban has repeatedly underscored the great work done by civil society organizations in bringing help and support to refugees worldwide, including through the support provided to the activities of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport, Jacques Rogge.