Ban praises Ireland’s ‘compassionate leadership’ on migration and refugees
26 May 2015 – As he wrapped up a visit to Ireland today, the Secretary-General congratulated the country on its “fruitful and strong” relationship with the United Nations over the past 60 years and looked forward to a continued partnership as the world tackled several significant challenges.
“Ireland has been a steadfast supporter of peacekeeping and an important contributor across the global agenda,” said Ban Ki-moon during a press encounter with Enda Kenny, the Prime Minister of Ireland. “Today, Ireland’s support is more needed than ever.”
Mr. Ban outlined the agenda of a constructive meeting he had just held with Mr. Kenny, noting that, along with discussing development, climate change, peacekeeping and human rights, they also tackled the growing challenge of migration and refugee protection.
“I highly commend such compassionate leadership of Taoiseach Kenny with regard to the resettlement of many refugees who are in need of such help,” said Mr. Ban. “We need a comprehensive approach to this challenge that looks at the roots and protects human rights.”
He said he had seen on his visit some of the support that Ireland provides in resettling people who have fled some of the world’s conflict areas, including Syria and Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General said he urged European leaders to address migration in a more comprehensive and collective way and he stressed the importance of compassion in handling the situation. The main priority was to save lives of those without the means to protect themselves through further strengthened search-and-rescue operations, life-saving humanitarian assistance and addressing the root causes of the migration.
“I know that the Irish Government has dispatched a naval vessel and that I really appreciate,” he said, calling for the responsibility to be borne by more than just one or two countries that are affected and saying that he would try to engage with the European Union leadership and Commissioners on the issue.
Mr. Ban and Mr. Kenny also discussed several other issues, including Ireland’s co-facilitation of negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.
“Ireland is a valuable partner in our efforts to eradicate poverty, hunger and inequality,” he said. “I especially appreciate the tremendous efforts made by Ireland to continue official development assistance, despite the difficult economic situation.”
Mr. Ban added his congratulations on the result of the marriage equality referendum, promising that the UN would continue its efforts to promote human dignity for all through the Free & Equal campaign.