For information only - not an official document
19 October 2015
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Secretary-General's Remarks to the Media at Gabcikovo Humanitarian Centre, Slovakia
Gabčíkovo, 19 October 2015
VIENNA/GABCIKOVO, 19 October (United Nations Information Service) - I am here to show my strong solidarity to all these refugees who are accommodated by the Slovak Government.
I really appreciate the Slovak Government for establishing this emergency transit centre.
I am very grateful that His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Mr. Robert Kaliňák, is here with me and I am also very much grateful that Her Excellency Madam Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Minister of Interior of Austria, has taken time to be especially with us this evening.
I thank both Governments for their very kind and warm hearts taking care of so many refugees who are voiceless and defenceless and helpless at this time.
Migrant and refugee issues have become a global issue, a global challenge.
I know that each and every country has very serious political, economic, social challenges in accommodating these people but at the same time they should know that they are people who are fleeing war and persecution and very difficult hardship which they can never bear themselves.
Then, the very fact that they are desperately looking for support, first of all live-saving protection of the human dignity, and I am very much grateful to many European countries, their leaders, for their global solidarity.
The current crisis, it may be a huge challenge in terms of numbers - tens of thousands of people are just rushing to the European continent.
But I believe that this not simply a matter of number, a crisis of number.
It may be a crisis of global solidarity; how much you are ready as a same human being, how much you can do for some neighbouring people who are really trying to have protection and better opportunities for their children and for themselves.
And I know that European leaders have been working very seriously and closely and they are going to meet in the middle of November in Valletta, Malta, to discuss this matter.
I am urging all the leaders to show their global solidarity and compassionate leadership.
In that regard I highly commend the Government of the Slovak Republic.
I had a very good meeting with Prime Minister Robert Fico of the Slovak Government.
And I am also grateful for the Austrian Government for not blocking any refugees, instead showing great flexibility so that they can freely transit to wherever their destination may be.
Again, I am urging all the leaders of concerned countries to show their leadership and warm hearts for those people.
Let us work together so that they will be able to return to their country one day, wherever they may be coming from.
They are people who need urgent humanitarian support.
They need to live with human dignity.
As far as the United Nations is concerned, the number one priority is protecting human lives and providing life-saving support.
I thank you very much for your support.
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