First-ever refugee team to compete in Olympic Games

The Olympic Rings stand in front of the flags of Nations in the Olympic Park in Sochi. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 10, 2007. See PA story OLYMPIC . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the first-ever Olympic refugee team to compete in the international event, and received the Olympic Cup Award on behalf of the UN.

Ban, who spoke at an event in Geneva, Switzerland, tagged: “Celebrating the Olympic Spirit” ahead of the Rio Games in Brazil, which begin in August, said: “This year, the International Olympic Committee has taken the extraordinary step of including a refugee team.”

“For the first time in history, talented athletes who have been forced to flee their homes will get a chance to chase gold. Their fellow refugees will see outstanding contenders who give hope to all, and the world will see refugees the way they deserve to be seen: as talented, strong and inspiring people,” the UN chief stated.

The Olympic Rings stand in front of the flags of Nations in the Olympic Park in Sochi.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 10, 2007. See PA story OLYMPIC . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

Win or lose, he said that, these athletes are “champions of the spirit”, and called on the international community to find lasting solutions to support the current global refugee crisis.

“Refugees want homes, not tents. They want a flag that waves for their rights, and they deserve a world that gives them more than assistance, they deserve a world that is at peace. Let us all be on the team of refugees until there is no need for a refugee team at all,” he said.

Ban also reminded those attending the event about the World Humanitarian Summit organized by the UN next month in Istanbul, Turkey, noting that, it will be followed in September by a meeting of the UN General Assembly on addressing large movements of migrants and refugees.

The UN chief called on leaders and people to make the most of these global opportunities for progress.

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