The United Nations on Monday proposed that its member countries create and agree upon a system to share responsibility more fairly for the hundreds of millions of refugees and migrants around the world.
The global compact would be accompanied by a U.N.-led campaign to combat the xenophobia and racism that have tainted discussions of the refugees and migrants, U.N. officials said at a briefing to release a report on the global migration.
The U.N. estimates there are 20 million refugees worldwide and another 40 million people displaced inside their own countries. Of the refugees, 86 percent live in developing countries, often near the countries they came from, it says.
Added to those figures are 244 million migrants who live and work in countries where they were not born, it says.
The campaign would attempt to counter an increasingly negative attitude and tone in debates over how to deal with the crisis, the U.N. said.
“I am concerned at the increasing trend of member states to erect fences and walls,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in the report.
“Xenophobic and racist responses to refugees and migrants seem to be reaching new levels of stridency, frequency and public acceptance.”
The proposals come ahead of a summit meeting planned at the U.N. in September to address the global refugee crisis.