Ban Ki-moon's speeches


Opening remarks at press conference at Kawrgosik refugee camp

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Kawrgosik Camp (Iraq), 14 January 2014

I stand here humbled by what I have seen in this Kawrgosik refugee camp. I am particularly saddened to see so many young children and women and vulnerable groups of people who suffer from this man-made tragedy.

I am here to send our strong solidarity and support to all the refugees who came from Syria, on behalf of the United Nations and the international community. I am very happy to be joined by our distinguished High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Antonio Guterres, and also Ms. Valerie Amos who is the head of humanitarian [affairs] and Emergency Relief Coordinator. We are also here to listen to the concerns and aspirations of all the refugees here.

What I have seen is heartbreaking. I have just met with a family in a refugee tent who have two young girls. I was very much saddened by their suffering. Families shared their struggles to survive, find their loved ones and cope with the sadness of those who have been lost. These families, they really wanted to have a better future –but they are now living in fear and uncertainty for their future.

I would like to most sincerely thank the Kurdistan Regional Government for its very kind generosity in hosting more than 200,000 refugees from Syria. The Kurdistan Regional Government has established many refugee camps and transit sites and established a humanitarian corridor to north-east Syria. I highly commend such commitment to humanitarian principles.

I also highly commend the governor, mayors and many local officials, NGOs, humanitarian workers who have been working under very difficult conditions to help refugees.

Wherever they come from, whatever their situations, their suffering means injustice [inaudible]. They need peace and dignity and justice.

That is why I and our Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi are working very hard with international partners to bring peace through negotiations. The international community should support these refugees until they are able to return to their homes. That is why from here I am going to Kuwait to convene a humanitarian assistance conference tomorrow. We will try to mobilize all the necessary humanitarian assistance for these people – tents, water, sanitation, education – and all that they need, we will provide. I am also concerned about this cold weather so we will try to provide winterization assistance.

Next week, in Geneva, I am going to convene an international peace conference for Syria. I sincerely hope that with the solidarity of the international community and strong support for a Syrian-led peace process, these refugees will be able to return to their homes with hope and dignity. Until then, the UN will lead this campaign of humanitarian assistance and peace process will all of you.

I will have meeting with President Barzani and I met Prime Minsiter Barzani and we will discuss this matter. Yesterday, I was in Baghdad and we had a good meeting with Prime Minister al-Maliki. So count on the United Nations.

I wish you continued happiness, prosperity and success.