Do more for migrants, Ban urges Europe

New York: European leaders should increase their efforts to help the hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has said.

“I commend the leadership and global solidarity the European leaders are showing, but at the same time, in view of the gravity and the scale of this crisis, I would naturally expect that European leaders should do more,” AKI news quoted Ban as saying on Friday.

“Migrants and refugees should be treated humanely, responsibly, under the international refugee convention, international humanitarian laws, and international human rights laws,” he added.

“I am urging European leaders to open borders and provide necessary, life-saving humanitarian assistance: we have to show compassion to these people,” Ban said.

Ban made the remarks ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the UN in New York on September 25, when the pontiff is expected to put Europe’s spiralling crisis at the centre of an address to the world body.

In an interview, Ban thanked Pope Francis “for his compassionate leadership for peace and humanity”, calling the pontiff “a man of moral voice, and purpose”.

Over half a million asylum-seekers have reached Europe already this year, in what the EU has called the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

In a bid to ease the crisis, the EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a controversial quota system to redistribute 160,000 new arrivals around the bloc, described by Germany as “a drop in the ocean”.