Merkel is "moral voice" in refugee crisis, UN's Ban Ki-moon says

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel's role in the refugee crisis, describing her as the world's "true moral voice."

"The chancellor has shown great sympathy and tried to find the right approach to these challenges," Ban said on Tuesday after meeting with Merkel in Berlin.

"She is a true moral voice, not only in Europe but in the world at large," he said standing alongside Merkel at a press conference.

The UN secretary general urged Europe to do more to cope with the refugee crisis.

"Europe is the continent where more can be done," he said, adding that it cannot just be a matter of how much money is made available.

"This is about more: This is about humanity, the respect for human rights," he said.

Ban went on to criticize the moves to tighten asylum laws and the rise in nationalistic sentiments in some countries.

A policy that is directed against refugees drives a wedge into societies, he warned.

Ban was commenting after Merkel and the other European Union leaders reached a broad agreement with Turkey at a summit on Monday aimed at stemming the flow of refugees into the EU.

However, Merkel's Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas warned that the EU leaders should also consider Ankara's actions against the media when negotiating with Turkey over the refugee crisis.

"Human rights and the rule of law must always be part of our dialogue with Turkey," said Maas, who is a member of left-leaning Social Democrats, the junior member of Merkel's conservative-led coalition.

"The repression of critical reporting is not consistent with our understanding of press freedom," Maas told the Funke media group in an interview to be published on Wednesday.

Last update: Tue, 08/03/2016 - 20:10

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