By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The White House will on Thursday rally businesses to give jobs to refugees ahead of a September summit where U.S. President Barack Obama will urge world leaders to boost humanitarian funds by a third and double the number of refugees being resettled.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said on Wednesday that the Obama summit during the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations would also aim to get one million refugee children in school and one million more refugees access to legal work in the neighboring countries they fled to.
“The summit is by no means a panacea; even if we hit every target, our response will still not match the scale of the crisis,” Power told the United States Institute of Peace, adding that it would boost the number of countries trying to help.
“We need businesses, big and small, to do more too; which is why tomorrow, the White House is launching a private sector call to action, which will rally companies to do their part, from providing jobs to donating services to refugees,” Power said.
The United Nations refugee agency said last week that a record 65.3 million people were uprooted worldwide last year, many of them fleeing wars only to face walls, tougher laws and xenophobia as they reach borders.
Power said the United Nations estimates that some 1.2 million refugees globally need to be resettled elsewhere because they are unsafe or their needs are not being met, but that in 2015 only 107,000 people relocated.
“Even as the crisis continues to grow – many countries are making no effort at all to do their fair share,” Power said.
“While we often overstate the security threats and economic costs of resettling more refugees, we routinely understate the likely consequences of failing to muster the global response that is needed,” Power said.
She said groups like Islamic State, al Qaeda and Boko Haram stood to benefit from a failed response to the refugee crisis as a central part of their narrative was that the West is at war with Islam.
She said the United States intended to meet its goal of taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees, out of a total 85,000 refugees, this year and slammed calls by some Americans to halt the refugee program following attacks in Paris and Orlando.
“Ignorance and prejudice make for bad advisors,” Power said.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bernard Orr)