Obama calls for more efforts to help refugees


Obama said all sides should welcome pledges of assistance that were made at the ongoing UN General Assembly meeting in NY.

He told the United Nations General Assembly in NY that the world would be more secure if help was offered to those fleeing conflict.

In Syria, a deal brokered by the United States and Russian Federation to institute a cease-fire is unravelling just a week after it began with the promise of allowing humanitarian aid to reach besieged parts of the country. Several of those countries have been struggling under the burden of hosting refugees.

In his final speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama offered praised for nations "right now that are doing the right thing" to help ease the largest refugee crisis since World War II. "Just as failure to act in the past - for example, by turning away Jews fleeing Nazi Germany - is a stain on our collective conscience, I believe history will judge us harshly if we do not rise to this moment".

Many leaders came a day early to attend Monday's first-ever United Nations summit on refugees and migrants, which approved a declaration aimed at providing a more coordinated and humane response to the world's 65.3 million displaced people.

The commitments announced Tuesday fell far short of what aid groups say is needed to address the crisis. Instead of welcoming them, Trump has proposed banning Muslims and people from countries where terrorism is an issue from entering the country.

Power said the summit wouldn't be a "panacea" for the crisis, but would show what the US can achieve when it leads on an issue of global concern.

"A country ringed by walls would only imprison itself", Obama said.

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Last week, the White House announced that the USA would resettle 110,000 refugees in the coming year, a 30 per cent increase over the 85,000 allowed in this year.

Four months before leaving office, Obama called for a "course correction" to ensure that the unstoppable forces of globalization don't lead nations to entrench behind their borders and ignore the most vulnerable. China said it was pledging $300 million, while the United Kingdom said it would resettle 20,000 and provide nearly $2 billion in aid - a roughly 10 per cent bump.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country has taken in more than 30,000 Syrian refugees since December, said the refugee crisis posed a challenge but also "an opportunity", vowing "there is more to come".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon raises his mobile phone as he addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

In his remarks, Obama also referred to the White House call for the private sector to step up.

Fifty-one corporations, including Facebook, Twitter, MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson, yogurt maker Chobani and other companies, have committed to easing access to education, employment and financial services for some 6.3 million refugees in more than 20 countries.

Before the summit, Obama planned to meet with some of the CEOs of the corporations that have pledged support for refugees.

"I want to suggest to you today that we must go forward and not backward", he added. This is part of their overall mission.