UN refugee chief: Keep borders open for refugees

June 20, 2011 - 7:13 AM
Italy Refugees Jolie

In this photo provided by the UNHCR, actress and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie, right, and and the U.N. Refugee chief Antonio Guterres, second from right, meet with migrants at the immigration center in Lampedusa, Italy, Sunday, June 19, 2011. Jolie traveled to Lampedusa on Sunday to mark World Refugee Day. She visited a migrant holding center and then participated in a ceremony at Lampedusa's memorial for migrants lost at sea. (AP Photo/UNHCR, Jason Tanner) MANDATORY CREDIT, NO SALES, ARCHIVE OUT, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

ROME (AP) — The U.N. refugee chief is urging all countries to keep their borders open and offer protection to refugees fleeing violence since "new crises multiply and old crises never end."

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres also called for a "new deal in burden- and responsibility-sharing" in the handling of refugees, saying wealthy countries should offer more support to countries in the developing world, which are bearing the brunt of refugee crises.

A report released Monday by the UNHCR said four-fifths of the world's 15.4 million refugees are hosted in poor countries.

Guterres spoke in Rome marking World Refugee Day and the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, aimed at protecting civilians and prisoners in time of war.