UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called for a global agreement on responsibility-sharing that "will collectively ensure the human rights, safety and dignity of all refugees and migrants". Member nations have been asked to come up with better plans to handle the millions of refugees, as their numbers are likely to increase due to issues such as conflicts, poverty and disasters.
"If one lesson can be drawn from the past few years, it is that individual countries cannot solve these issues on their own. International cooperation and action to address large movements of refugees and migrants must be strengthened," Moon said in a report released on 9 May.
The report was prepared ahead of a high level meeting planned by the UN in September 2016 to address the migrant and refugee crisis. A summit organised by US President Barack Obama is also said to follow the UN meeting where world leaders would be asked to pledge financial aid to respond to the issue, the AP reported.
The global pact will be supported by a UN campaign to fight xenophobia and racism, with an aim to bring countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach in dealing with the refugee crisis, the UN said.
"Xenophobic and racist responses to refugees and migrants seem to be reaching new level of stridency, frequency and public acceptance," Moon said in his report. The UN secretary general also voiced concerns over the growing trend of its member nations erecting fences and walls to stop refugees from entering countries that are considered safer.
Meanwhile, UN special adviser Karen AbuZayd said that the UN-led campaign to fight racism will promote measures to bring direct contact between refugees and people in their host countries, Reuters reported.
According to UN estimates around 60 million people – half of them children – have fled conflict regions or places where they were being discriminated against, and sought refuge in other countries, where they continue to remain internally displaced. Moon stressed that around 225 million migrants left their countries in search of better livelihood or simply for survival.