• Switzerland's news in English
Refugee crisis
Geneva UN meet aims to tackle refugee crisis
Ban Ki-Moon opens the conference in Geneva. Photo Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Geneva UN meet aims to tackle refugee crisis

AFP · 30 Mar 2016, 13:05

Published: 30 Mar 2016 13:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We are here to address the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time," Ban told the conference in Geneva. "This demands an exponential increase in global solidarity."
The UN secretary general, a South Korean, recalled his own experience of fleeing his village with his family as a six-year-old during the Korean War sixty years ago and said that for him stories of refugees stranded in camps with meagre resources "have personal meaning."
"Attempts to demonise (refugees) are not only offensive; they are factually incorrect," Ban said, in an apparent reference to rising anti-migrant rhetoric increasingly being voiced by some political leaders across the developed world.
The Geneva meet follows a conference in London in February where nations pledged $11 billion (9.7 billion euros) to help manage one of the largest displacements of people since World War Two.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that 4.8 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country during its five-year civil war, while another 6.6 million people have been internally displaced.
The aim of the Geneva meet is to secure relocation pledges for 10 percent of Syria's refugees, or 480,000 people, within three years.
The UN wants that number of people moved outside of Syria's neighbours, which are currently absorbing nearly the entire refugee burden.
Ban said the 480,000 figure was "a relatively small number," compared with those being hosted by Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The conference comes as the UN continues to blast a deal agreed between Turkey and the European Union earlier this month which calls for migrants who cross the Mediterranean seeking a life in Europe to be returned to Turkey.
The UN's refugee agency and rights office have condemned the deal as possibly illegal in that it appears to deny some migrants their legal right to asylum.
More than one million migrants -- about half of them Syrians -- reached Europe via the Mediterranean last year, a rate of arrivals that has continued through the first three months of 2016.
Thousands have died making the harrowing journey, often on rickety boats run by people smugglers.
Some European states have temporarily shut borders and called for tough measures to stem the movement of people through the continent.
The UN and civil society groups have urged Europe's leaders to develop coherent and organised resettlement systems, to make migration to the continent safer and less chaotic.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available