Today, the world is witness to the greatest refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, said U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power. “And because it is global in scale, anything less than a global response will fall short of addressing it,” she said:
“Yet rather than spur a united front, a united effort, the challenge of mass displacement has divided the international community – and even individual nations – leaving the lion’s share of the response to a small number of countries, stretching our humanitarian system to its breaking point, and putting millions of people in dire situations at even greater risk.”
Obviously, the best way to resolve the crisis is to address the conflicts, violence, and repression that is forcing people out of their homes. But in the meantime, we must do more to help, not only for their sake, but for our own security and stability.
First, we must meet the vital needs of refugees in the present. Here, we are coming up far short, said Ambassador Power. “We are seeing record shortfalls in providing essential humanitarian assistance. In 2015, the UN requested approximately $20 billion to provide life-saving aid, only $11 billion of which was funded. This year, the $21 billion that the UN is seeking is less than one-quarter funded.”
And second, we must offer refuge or resettlement to the displaced. By relying on a few countries to bear a disproportionate share of the cost of the crisis, the lives of many refugees are put at risk, and may fall prey to violent extremists and members of organized crime.
In recognition of the urgent need for all countries to do more, President Obama is convening on September 20, the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees on the margins of the 71st UN General Assembly. In addition, the United States is also taking steps to increase our humanitarian aid to refugees and increasing the number of refugees we will resettle in the United States.
We call on our friends and partners to follow our lead, for the sake of the displaced, and the global community.