World must step up protection for refugees, do more to solve conflict – UN agency chief

The global community is letting down millions of refugees and internally displaced people, and needs to renew efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, focusing on protection and solutions, the head of the United Nations refugee agency said today.

Without the shared sense of purpose needed to prevent, stem and solve conflicts, the world will continue to face new refugee flows, and must reinforce its capacity to respond, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in his opening address to the annual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Drawing attention to crises from Bangladesh to Yemen, Mr. Grandi presented a bleak picture of record numbers of people worldwide forcibly driven from their homes � 65.6 million at the end of 2016 � and he pointed out that the situation is getting worse.

So far in 2017, more than two million people have fled their countries as refugees [] They often arrive sick, traumatized and hungry, in remote border locations, in communities affected by poverty and underdevelopment, he continued.

UNHCR staff are working tirelessly to help them, often in circumstances where their own security is at risk, but the needs are immense.

Many have urgent protection needs � children separated from their families, men, women, girls and boys exposed to sexual and gender-based violence, people with disabilities or facing other risks, he stated.

Mr. Grandi stressed that refugee protection and security walk hand in hand and need to be tackled together.

This is not only a matter of principles and values, but also of building regional and global stability. Refugee protection and security are complementary goals, and must be pursued in tandem, he stressed.

Source: UN News Centre