The United Nations has proposed that its member states should campaign against xenophobia and racism in dealing with refugees.
It said on Tuesday in New York that its member countries are working towards creating and agreeing upon a system to share responsibility, more fairly for the hundreds of millions of refugees and migrants around the world.
This is contained in a report on the global migration, ahead of a summit meeting planned at the UN in September to address the global refugee crisis.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said in the report, that UN estimated that there are 20 million refugees worldwide and another 40 million people displaced inside their own countries.
“Of the refugees, 86 per cent live in developing countries, often near the countries they came from.
“Out of those figures, there are 244 million migrants who live and work in countries where they were not born,’’ it says.
He said the campaign would attempt to counter an increasingly negative attitude and tone in debates over how to deal with the crisis.
Ban noted that xenophobic and racist responses to refugees and migrants seem to be reaching new levels of stridency, frequency and public acceptance.
Karen AbuZayd, UN Special Adviser on the summit, said the UN led campaign would promote such steps as more direct, personal contact between refugees, migrants and people in their host countries.
She said nations would be called upon to develop plans for refugees and migrants in education, language and skills training and employment opportunities.
AbuZayd said the global compact would require nations to share responsibility in a variety of ways, so that a few nations do not shoulder much of the burden while others do far less.
“It might include resettlement policies, financing arrangements, aid to host countries and technical assistance.
“States will share responsibility for refugees more fairly.
“Host countries will receive immediate support for their development needs. International migration will be governed better,” she said.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has described the plan as a potential “game changer”, but stressed that its success depends upon nations agreeing on a permanent system for sharing responsibility.
“World leaders cannot go on lurching from crisis to crisis, haggling over numbers and fiddling while parts of the world burn.
“Refugees in shaky boats trapped at border fences or crammed into overcrowded camps where hopes and dreams wither.
“Too often, these scenes of despair are borne not just from war and persecution but also of bad, callous policies,” it said. (Reuters/NAN)