During his fifth visit to Canada as United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon today applauded the country's commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, stressing that they “deserve opportunity, human rights protection and peace.”
“Although I will be in Canada for only three days, we are laying plans to strengthen our collaboration for years to come,” Mr. Ban told journalists at a press conference in Ottawa.
“The weather here is quite cold, but the relations between the United Nations and Canada are very, very warm,” he added. “Since the United Nations was founded, Canada has always been one of our most important partners,” he said.
The UN chief said he and Prime Minister Trudeau had a very constructive dialogue on a number of important issues. “We spoke about climate change, peacekeeping, sustainable development, and the situation of migrants and refugees. We also spoke about the world's hot spots, including Syria,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ban recalled that at the climate conference (COP21) last December, Prime Minister Trudeau's leadership helped the UN secure the breakthrough it needed for the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
“Now we need Canada to put the Agreement into action and help keep the rest of the world on track,” he said, noting that he invited the Prime Minister to attend the signing ceremony in New York on 22 April, which coincides with Mother Earth Day.
He also commended the Canadian leader for committing to addressing United Nations human rights recommendations on indigenous peoples in Canada, particularly violence against indigenous women and girls.
Later today, Mr. Ban is expected to visit the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, building on his many meetings with refugees and migrants around the world. “They have lost their homes and their family members,” he told reporters.