Syrian refugee crisis demands united global action: UN chief

Syrian refugee crisis demands united global action: UN chief
PHOTO: Reuters

The refugee crisis caused by Syria's war requires an "exponential" rise in global solidarity, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday, as he opened a conference on securing resettlement places for those displaced.

"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 Geneva meet follows a conference in London in February where world nations pledged US$11 billion (S$14.82 billion) 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 per cent of Syria's refugees, or 480,000 people, which the UN wants moved outside of Syria's neighbours who are currently absorbing an enormous refugee burden.

Ban said the 480,000 figure was "a relatively small number," compared with those being hosted by Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

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