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Obama: Why we must do more to support refugees

US President Barack Obama has appealed to the international community to do more to support refugees.

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

In a message to mark World Refugee Day, he said: “We recognize the challenges and hardships that refugees face, honor their courage and resilience in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and celebrate their many valuable contributions to our Nation.”

The latest report by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) revealed that last year at least 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced by rising violence, insecurity, and persecution.

“More than half are children.  The scale of this human suffering is almost unimaginable; the need for the world to respond is beyond question,” President Obama said.

He said he will convene a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in September  when world leaders meet for the UN General Assembly.

“In advance of that Summit, the United States is urging other governments to contribute more funding for humanitarian aid operations, to grant more refugees the chance to work and attend school, and to provide more resettlement opportunities for refugees who cannot safely go home or remain where they are.  We are urging our non-governmental partners, including the private sector, to do more as well,” President Obama said.

He praised Americans who “do their part to welcome and support refugees as they start life a new in the United States.”

“The millions of refugees who have resettled here through the years have brought similar dreams of a better tomorrow.  Each has enriched the diverse mosaic that is America.  Their lives and their many accomplishments stand as a clear rebuke to the bigotry and brutality they fled, and serve as a powerful example of the human will to endure, hope, and achieve,” President Obama added.

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