US President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged countries to “welcome the stranger in our midst” at a summit that drew pledges from 50 countries to take in 360,000 refugees.
Speaking at a US-led refugee summit at the United Nations, Obama praised Germany and Canada among other countries for opening up their doors to those fleeing the war in Syria and other conflicts.
“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.”
Some 50 world leaders took part in the summit, but their participation was conditional on making new commitments to address the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
“Collectively, our nations are roughly doubling the number of refugees that we admit to our countries to more than 360,000 this year,” Obama announced.
In particular, seven countries — Romania, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Luxembourg — committed to resettle or admit at least 10 times more refugees than in 2015, according to US officials.
While the new pledges would allow more asylum-seekers to rebuild their lives, it represented a fraction of the 1.1 million refugees who are in need of resettlement in 2016, according to the UN refugee agency. This according toAFP