Olympic Refugee Team Urged to Inspire the World

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) meets with the Olympic Refugee Team at the Olympic UN Photo / Mark Garten
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) meets with the Olympic Refugee Team at the Olympic UN Photo / Mark Garten

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a visit Thursday to the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he encouraged refugee athletes to show the world their strengths.

“I know you have had very sad, terrible stories and experiences, but you are a source of inspiration for all of us,” Mr. Ban told the refugee athletes – from South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.

These athletes will participate in the 2016 Olympic Games as part of the first-ever Olympic Refugee Team.

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According to the UN, the 10-member team, backed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Olympic Committee, was created to bring global attention to the magnitude of the global refugee crisis and act as a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide.

“We have 65 million people like you. This is the largest number of refugees and displaced persons, who have fled their homes, since the end Second World War,” Mr. Ban said.

Mr. Ban is scheduled to participate in the Olympic torch relay and the Games’ opening ceremony today.

The Olympics event will take place August 5 – 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Rakesh Raman