Leaders adopt global declaration on refugees

US President Barack Obama speaks during a High Level Leaders Meeting on Refugees on the sidelines of the United Nations

Before the summit, Obama planned to meet with some of the CEOs of the corporations that have pledged support for refugees.

This afternoon, Secretary Kerry delivered the U.S. National Statement at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants held during High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly in NY. The new US refugee target is almost a 30 percent increase from 2016.

The investment comes in response to the Obama administration's "Call to Action" initiative, asking USA companies to help ease the migrant crisis.

The "lifejacket graveyard" was organized to illustrate the risks migrants take, aid groups said, and to call on the United Kingdom government to take in thousands more refugees.

The Leaders' summit - co-hosted by the U.S., the UN Secretary General, Ethiopia, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Sweden and Jordan - came on the heels of the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants, and sought concrete pledges in three areas: improved access to education and job opportunities for refugees, resettlement and other forms of admission, and humanitarian finance.

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, there are around 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers and 40.8 million migrants in the world at present.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, himself a refugee during the Korean War, hailed it as historic.

That may prove an uphill struggle, however, as the document is not legally binding and comes at a time that refugees and migrants have become a divisive issue in Europe and the United States.

"We have to be optimistic that we'll see some real concrete commitments", said Amnesty International's Interim Executive Director Margaret Huang. The White House recently announced plans to increase the number of refugees admitted into the U.S.to 100,000.

Prior to the pledging summit with world leaders, Obama will host a meeting with top executives from 50 companies to discuss what the private sector can do to help address the problem, Power said.

"The President's commitment to ensuring that the United States plays a leading role on this issue is not shared by a lot of people in Congress, including by a lot of people in the Republican majority in Congress", Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. The Summit is an all day event on Monday 19 September 2016 at the UNHQ in NY.

The promise was that Jordan will continue to bear responsibility for refugees in return for donations by rich countries until the Syrian conflict is solved and refugees return home.

Meanwhile, the UN's human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein used the summit to accuse the worldwide community of having failed to protect those caught up in conflict zones like Syria.

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