Global asylum system is under attack, Guterres says

Those who seek safety from war and persecution are threatened by a hostile political environment, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday, opening the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, which marks the first anniversary of the United Nation's global refugee pact.

"At a time when the right of asylum is under attack, when so many doors are closed to refugees and when so many refugee children are detained and separated from their families, we must reaffirm their human rights," Guterres said at the high-level UN meeting.

More than 1,000 government and business delegates convened in the Swiss city to discuss the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, which was adopted by UN members last year to ease the burden on host countries, to boost refugees' self-reliance, and to create legal migration paths."It is time to give up a model of support that too often meant putting the lives of refugees on hold for decades: confined to camps, living day by day, without being able to flourish or make a contribution to society," Guterres said.

Currently, there are an estimated 71 million people around the world who have been uprooted, 25 million of them living as refugees outside their country, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

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