KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The number of displaced people around the world has never been higher, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday, urging the international community to improve the way humanitarian assistance and development support is provided.
Ban spoke during a visit to a camp for internally displaced people near Goma in Congo’s eastern North Kivu province. He was expected to meet with President Joseph Kabila on Wednesday.
“We have 60 million people around the world, that is the largest number of IDP’s (internally displaced people) and refugees since the end of the Korean war,” Ban said.
He said visits to such camps remind him of his own experience of internal displacement, “when I was 6 years old in Korea, 1950.” He said the U.N. at that time stood as a beacon of hope.
“They supported our security, they supported our textbooks and they gave us water, sanitation, food,” he said.
Chaotic eastern Congo is home to multiple rebel groups, many vying for control of the region’s vast mineral resources.
Ban said he was humbled by the women he met at the camp and said hope must be restored. “We have to do much more to protect human dignity and human rights of women and girls to save them, to protect them from sexual violence,” he said.
The U.N. chief said that making sure no one is left behind would be a main objective at the first World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey in May.
SALEH MWANAMILONGO, Associated Press
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