Ban pays tribute to Italy for saving migrant lives

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Baku, October 15, AZERTAC

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday thanked Italy for saving the lives of migrants and asylum seekers.

In remarks to the Lower House as Italy celebrated its 60th year as a UN member nation, he praised Italy's “courageous and profoundly humane response to the greatest migrant crisis since the end of World War II”.

“I render tribute to men and women of Italy who have saved tens of thousands of migrants. I thank Italy,” he said. He also called for countries to share the burden of rescuing, hosting and processing migrants and asylum seekers. “All nations have the same duty above and beyond geographic proximity,” he said. All people driven out of their homes deserve protection, he added.

“Forced migration does not come in two categories, the deserving and the undeserving,” he told Italian lawmakers. “There are only people who need help. All migrants deserve protection,” he added, reminding lawmakers of Italy's “history of emigration”. Ban went on to urge Italy to do more to combat climate change. “I call on Italy to be more ambitious in achieving a low carbon-emission economy,” he said, citing the pope's latest encyclical which “defines climate change as a moral issue” and calls it “one of the main challenges” of today.

In closing, the UN chief compared Italy to the Fiat 500 car. “The Fiat 500 is more and more successful — a bit like Italy, which is always on the move,” he said, adding that “every time I wear an Italian tie, I feel like my wife loves me a little more”.

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