Leaders seek to defy sceptics at Istanbul humanitarian summit

May 23, 2016 9:28 pm
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23, 2016/AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23, 2016/AFP

, ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 23 – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday the burden of handling the world’s crises should be better shared, as leaders and aid groups sought to defy sceptics to find a breakthrough at an unprecedented aid summit in Istanbul.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gathered over 60 heads of state and government with top NGOs, aiming to better keep conflicts from erupting and ensure legal retribution for those guilty of humanitarian crimes.

Overview
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gathered over 60 heads of state and government with top NGOs, aiming to better keep conflicts from erupting and ensure legal retribution for those guilty of humanitarian crimes.
  • Celebrity stardust was sprinkled by actors Daniel Craig, Forest Whitaker and Sean Penn, while top NGOs called for a wholesale reform of a now outdated humanitarian system.
  • With some 60 million people displaced around the world and at least 125 million needing assistance and protection in the biggest humanitarian crises since World War II, Ban said that the summit represented a chance to forge a "different future".

Celebrity stardust was sprinkled by actors Daniel Craig, Forest Whitaker and Sean Penn, while top NGOs called for a wholesale reform of a now outdated humanitarian system.

With some 60 million people displaced around the world and at least 125 million needing assistance and protection in the biggest humanitarian crises since World War II, Ban said that the summit represented a chance to forge a “different future”.

But the two-day event has been shadowed by the boycott of medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and doubts that it can make any genuine impact.

“Let us seize this opportunity, let us make our mark as agents of change,” said Ban.

He warned that realising the aims was not “an easy task” and required a “political will on a scale we have not seen in recent years.”

James Bond star Craig told the world leaders: “This summit is about potential to start the biggest humanitarian movement in our history,” warning against “empty words without action.”

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