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UN summit: Obama urges world leaders to 'welcome strangers', 50 nations pledge to take in 360,000 refugees

The number of refugees entering the United States will go up to 110,000 next year, up from 85,000 this year, the Obama administration has said.? Photograph: (AFP)

WION New York, United States Sep 21, 2016, 02.03 AM (IST)
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged the world leaders at The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2016 to "welcome the stranger in our midst" as 50 nations pledged to take in 360,000 refugees. 

Obama praised countries including Canada and Germany for taking in refugees fleeing from various conflicts, AFP news agency reported. 

"We are facing a crisis of epic proportion," Obama said.

"We cannot avert our eyes or turn our backs. To slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values," he added. 

Canada has granted asylum to more than 30,000 Syrian refugees since December and PM Justin Trudeau said this was a challenge as well as "an opportunity," vowing "there is more to come."
 
"We cannot avert our eyes or turn our backs. To slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values" - Obama

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "I believe we cannot allow ourselves to stop here. We must finally get ahead in tackling this crisis," on Germany taking in more refugees. 

It's pertinent to mention that in its recent electoral polls, Angela Merkel's party has suffered a setback due to her 'open-door'  refugee policy amid rise in anti-refugees sentiments. 

Referring to Merkel's struggle, Obama said: "the politics can be hard" for leaders who open up to refugees and migrants."

The number of refugees entering the United States will go up to 110,000 next year, up from 85,000 this year, the Obama administration said. 
 
As per US officials, seven countries including Romania, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Luxembourg will resettle at least 10 times more refugees this year than 2015. 

According to the UN refugee agency, the number is just a fraction of the 1.1 million refugees who are in need of resettlement this year. 

Meanwhile, as per US officials, seven countries including Romania, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Luxembourg will resettle at least 10 times more refugees this year than 2015. 

Financial contribution to UN appeals and international organisations have also increased since 2015 by about $4.5 billion. 

The pledges will include funds to send one million refugee children to schools and allow one million refugees to legally work. 

Over 65 million people are displaced in the world which include 21 million refugees fleeing from war strife countries like Syria.
 
Currently only eight countries are hosting half of the world's refugees: Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya and Uganda.

Swipe at Trump

Obama also said the refugee crisis was a "test of our common humanity, whether we give in to suspicion and fear and build walls," in an apparent strike against US presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

Trump had threatened to build a wall on the US border with Mexico to keep out migrants and make them pay for it. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)















 
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