Refugee Crisis

All across the world, millions of people have fled from their homes in search of safety.  These refugees face incredible levels of hardship and loss.  As members of the international community, we should continue to improve our efforts in providing humanitarian aid to these people who face such uncertain futures.

 Silhouette of a refugee family with children (AP photo)

On September 20, at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly Leaders Summit, President Obama addressed the gathered leaders by urging them to increase their efforts in facing this great test of our time.  Just a day earlier the UN General Assembly reached an agreement on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.  This declaration outlines a sustainable and more comprehensive commitment to provide assistance to refugees on a global scale.

President Obama addresses the High-level Leaders’ Summit on Refugees. (UN photo)

Following President Obama’s Leadership Summit, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se announced in a press conference that the Korean government would be providing USD 230 million in multilateral humanitarian aid for refugees over the next three years.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees

This isn’t the first time the Korean government has focused its efforts to aid refugees.  South Korea has already seen the arrival of the first refugees under the new refugee resettlement program as part of the 2012 Refugee Act, and plans to continue to accept additional refugees in the future.  Over the past few years, they have provided over USD 50 million to assist refugee families from Syria and Iraq. 

President Obama also met with U.S. business leaders in response to his June Call to Action asking the private sector to contribute in assisting with this crisis.  The result of this Call to Action is 51 different companies from across the nation that have committed to providing more than USD 650 million in aid and support.

With over 21 million people displaced from their homes and crossing international borders, I know that the United States and Korea, along with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), can continue to partner together in this incredibly important work and take action in the face of this global crisis.  Together with the global community, we can provide these people with the safety, resources and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society.

My recent tweet in support of the #WithRefugees campaign

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