UN Good at Analysis; Solutions Frustrating
UNITED NATIONS - Everyone has an opinion on refugees: they should stay closer to home; they should be treated humanely; they should think twice before settling abroad.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off the annual UN General Assembly session, with 193 of the world's presidents, prime minister, foreign ministers and royalty, in a summit devoted to the plight of refugees and migrants.
About 65 million people are migrants and refugees, the largest number since the Second World War. Almost 7,000 women, children and men have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean. One in every four refugees is fleeing the bombs and chaos in Syria (where war planes from Damascus on Monday again bombed civilians).
So, the UN delegates adopted a 25-page resolution that analyzed reasons for the flight of refugees and migrants. It called for protection of human rights, and said all refugees and migrants children should receive education shortly after arrival. The resolution asked for support for countries rescuing and hosting large number of refugees, condemned xenophobia and the detention of children.
But there were no concrete commitments and members rejected Ban Ki-moon's proposal to resettle 10 percent of the world's refugee population each year. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama is expected to appeal for funds of $3 billion for resettlement and education for one million youngsters.
The World Cup costs more
German Development Minister Gerd Müller said the amount was puny and that $20 billion was needed to provide basic services to the refugees. "The World Cup in the desert country of Qatar will probably cost about $200 billion in investment," he said.
With the United States offering to settle a mere 10,000 Syrians while Germany has welcomed over 1 million homeless people, Eastern European countries welcomed no one and Britain has stayed true to its hostility towards refugees and migrants since its Brexit vote.
Its new prime minister, Theresa May, told a panel that the United Nations had a duty to stop the flow of migrants and that "countries have a duty to manage their borders to reduce onwards flows of illegal and uncontrolled migration."
But Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a Jordanian, did not mince words.
He said that in too many countries "race-baiting bigots "seek to gain power by "wielding prejudice and deceit."
"The bitter truth is this summit was called because we have been largely failing. Failing the long-suffering people of Syria, in not ending the war in its infancy. Failing others in now chronic conflict zones for the same reason.
"It is shameful the victims of abominable crimes should be made to suffer further by our failures to give them protection. It is abhorrent that desperate women, men and children can be branded as criminals, and detained."
Murad and Clooney
Among the many speakers were migrants themselves, including Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a survivor of the genocide against the Yazidi minority by ISIS. She again relived her ordeal.
Murad, 23, who now lives in Germany, on Friday, was named an ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking for the UN Office for Drugs and Crimes agency.
Calling for justice to the perpetrators, she made clear their crimes had little to do with Islam but slavery, sex and murder - of her whole family.
"The world has only one border. It is called humanity," she said. "I beg you all to place humans first. You and your families are not the only ones who deserve life. We also deserve life."
"We should not close our borders to innocent women and children," she said.
Both on Friday and Monday, she was accompanied by her attorney, the human rights barrister, Amal Clooney, who said ISIS had to be taken to court. "Not one member of Isis has been prosecuted anywhere in the world."
"I wish I could say I'm proud to be here but I am not. I am ashamed as a supporter of the United Nations that states are failing to prevent or even punish genocide because they find that their own interests get in the way.
"I am ashamed as a lawyer. I am ashamed as a woman. I am ashamed as a human being that we ignore their cries for help."
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Amal Clooney, Nadia Murad, Ban Ki-moon on Friday
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