PH is willing to accept refugees, Duterte tells UN General Assembly
MANILA, Philippines — In his first-ever speech before the United Nations General Assembly, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Wednesday the Philippines’ willingness to accept refugees, including the Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Duterte cited the Philippines’ history of opening its doors to the refugees — White Russians following the 1917 Revolution, European Jews during the Second World War, Vietnamese during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, and Iranians displaced by the 1979 revolution.
“The Philippines continues to honor this humanitarian tradition in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol,” Duterte said.
“But lest we forget: helping the most vulnerable – those displaced by conflict, persecution, and political instability – is a shared responsibility of all countries.”
He added: “As I have said many times: The doors of the Philippines are open, as they have always been, to everyone fleeing for safety, such as the Rohingyas.”
Thousands of people, most of them Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group, have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 2017 when Rohingya militant attacks on security forces sparked a military crackdown.
The President said nations must work together to end the conflicts and conditions that force people to flee their homes.
“Mr. President: As our societies become more diverse yet interdependent, social cohesion issues come to the fore,” Duterte said.
“Mutual understanding always accompanied by mutual tolerance between those of different faiths and cultures is the only foundation of societies at peace with itself and all others,” he added.
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