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International Rescue Committee’s David Miliband responds to new record number of 70.8 million refugees and displaced people around the world

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: "Today’s record-setting figures are a wake-up call to the human cost of war, economic misery, and climate stress - representing a clear international failure to tackle the defining political and humanitarian crisis of our time. 

"As the numbers of displaced grow, we are seeing a tragic retreat from diplomacy that should be addressing the root causes of conflict and displacement.

“Regardless of Britain’s relationship with the rest of the European Union, the UK has an opportunity to lead the pack when it comes to offering the most vulnerable refugees a safe haven in which to recover and rebuild their lives.

“If Global Britain means anything then it must mean the UK leading the pack when it comes to protecting those fleeing violence and oppression. At the December refugee summit in Geneva, the UK has an opportunity to show the rest of the world that we will not engage in a retreat on refugee protection as others have. They can do that by pledging to significantly increase resettlement places and to direct them at those who need them the most.

“The UK must use its membership of the UN Security Council to pursue policies that protect the innocent people caught up in war zones, and those seeking to provide them with humanitarian assistance.”

“In Europe, populist and anti-migration rhetoric has hampered the EU’s collective ability to agree on a fair and efficient system to manage migration. Yet these reforms are urgently needed both to uphold the rights of the most vulnerable who seek protection in Europe and to ensure new arrivals can make a positive contribution to their new communities.

“That means this autumn the new EU Commission, backed by the new European Parliament, must do things differently — starting with fast tracking agreement on an EU-wide law on resettlement and showing bold political leadership on refugee and asylum-seeker integration.

“At the very least, EU member states should provide the remaining 10,000 places they committed to under the existing EU scheme, which expires in October. Beyond that, they should show solidarity with developing countries who host the vast majority of the world's refugees by making a collective commitment at the Global Refugee Forum to offer 50,000 resettlement places in 2020.”

This World Refugee Day, you can join the IRC is standing for a world that welcome. Add your name to their open letter to refugees: www.rescue-uk.org/Welcome


About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.