UN chief calls for compassion towards refugees and migrants

New York: France and Europe should treat refugees and migrants with compassion, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said as he condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris during a phone call with French President Francois Hollande.

In readout of the conversation with French President Francois Hollande, the UN Secretary-General underlined that many refugees were themselves fleeing extremism and terrorism and “stressed the importance for France and Europe to continue to treat refugees and migrants with compassion and to respect their rights.”

Ban called Hollande yesterday and reiterated his condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, expressing his condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the government and people of France.

He commended France’s determination and active role in mobilising the international community to counter the grave threat of international terrorism, according to the UN readout of the call.

ISIS terrorists claimed responsibility for the multiple coordinated shootings and bomb attacks across Paris this past Friday, targeting a concert hall, cafes and the Stade de France stadium, killing more than 120 people and wounding some 400 others.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad and last month’s bombing of a Russian plane over Egypt, Ban had warned against taking reprisals against Muslims.

“No grievance or cause can justify such acts,” he said of the terrorist attacks.

“I am especially concerned about reprisals or further discrimination against Muslims, in particular Muslim refugees and migrants. This would just exacerbate the alienation on which terrorists feed,” he told the UN Security Council this week.

The United Nations refugee agency also warned against the scapegoating of refugees, in the wake of the deadly attacks.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Melissa Fleming said the agency is “deeply disturbed by language that demonizes refugees as a group”.

“This is dangerous as it will contribute to xenophobia and fear. The security problems Europe faces are highly complex. Refugees should not be turned into scapegoats and must not become the secondary victims of these most tragic events,” Fleming said in Geneva.