UN: Building barriers no solution to Europe’s refugee crisis

Published March 19th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
Refugees keep warm near a fire at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni on March 18, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by the Balkan border blockade. (AFP/Daniel Mihailescu)
Refugees keep warm near a fire at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni on March 18, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by the Balkan border blockade. (AFP/Daniel Mihailescu)

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Europe cannot resolve its refugee crisis by building barriers and walls to keep asylum-seekers at bay.

In an interview published Friday, Ban told the German daily, Bild, that “building walls, discriminating against people or sending them back is no answer to the problem.”

His remarks were published on the same day that EU leaders were to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to finalize an agreement, according to which Ankara would take back all the refugees that have reached Europe via Turkey.

Some EU countries have moved to prevent the refugees from coming in by enforcing border restrictions and building fences.

The refugees seek to travel through the Balkans to reach more prosperous countries in Western Europe. Most of them are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.

According to a recent report by the European Commission’s bureau of statistics, the Eurostat, some 1.2 million refugees reached Europe in 2015, with more than a third of them having gone to Germany. People from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan topped the Eurostat’s list of refugees.


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