Monday, 18 January 2021

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Ban Ki-moon meets with refugees in Brussels

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BRUSSELS, 14.06.2016 – This afternoon UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with a group of refugees in one of Brussels’ soup kitchens run by the Belgian NGO Flemish Refugee Action (Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen).

The centre is run with the help of volunteers, some of whom are refugees who have settled in Belgium after leaving their homes in countries such as Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

Refugees gather at ‘Start.point’ to have lunch on their very first day in Belgium as they seek asylum. The centre serves as an information point where food is distributed to newcomers along with advice on asylum rights and the procedure that lies before them. Newly arrived refugees in Brussels are vulnerable due to their lack of insight into the complicated asylum procedure and into their ensuing rights and duties.

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Ban Ki-moon had the chance to discuss with refugee volunteers the challenges they had faced during their journeys. “This is a heartbreaking situation” he said, “and I would like to call upon world leaders to show compassion and global leadership.”

The UN Secretary-General also spoke with refugee volunteers about their expectations and hopes for the future. He praised the work of the NGO. “I highly appreciate the noble work you are doing,” he told the volunteers. “The enormity of the challenges is hard to describe. But do not despair, do not lose hope. We are with you.”

The Secretary-General also made time to meet the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, before the European Development Days (EDD’s) organised by the European Commission, which commence tomorrow. See video here.

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Whilst in Brussels, Ban Ki-moon will also meet Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and a number of Commissioners, as well as with other senior officials attending the celebration of the EDD’s Europe's leading forum on development and international cooperation.

For its tenth anniversary, EDD 2016 will focus on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, making it one of the very first major conferences dedicated to the issue. The event brings the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges

In Belgium, the Secretary-General will also participate in an Advisory Board meeting of the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) initiative, and meet with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, who is an Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals.


­UNRIC’s Related links

-          EDDs 2016 
-          Start.point
-          Flemmish refugee action 
-          Photos 
-          Ban Ki-moon and Donald Tusk meeting 
-          Sustainable Development Goals 


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