Shakira urges nations to deal with refugee crisis and forget 'flags', 'borders' and 'racism'

The 38-year-old singer said the 'tragic' images of Aylan Kurdi should 'humanise the plight of the refugees'

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Shakira has said that “human rights” should rise above “flags, borders… and racism” in the current refugee crisis, which she labelled “one of the great humanitarian crises of our time”.

Speaking at a UNICEF press conference on the need for investment in early childhood development, the singer was responding to a question regarding the current refugee crisis.

The 38-year-old singer said the “tragic” images of Aylan Kurdi should “humanise the plight of the refugees” and that “children should not pay the price of war”.

Shakira said there's "a lot of racism" underneath the current crisis. She said: "I know that every country has concern about their own economies but I only hope that sometime soon we can have a world where human needs and human rights rise above flags, borders, numbers, selfishness and racism.”

 

She continued: “I’m sure it’s not an easy problem to resolve but I’m also sure that nations coming together could find an intelligent solution to this… urgent issue in the name of Aylan Kurdi and Ghalib Kurdi – those two boys who lost their lives.”

Shakira joined the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon at the event to encourage global leaders to invest in early childhood development, as that is when brain development is the most intense, according to UNICEF.

 

 

 

She noted that: “159 million boys and girls under five are physically and cognitively stunted due to a lack of care and proper nutrition. Every year that passes without us making significant investment in early childhood development and initiatives that address these issues, millions of kids will be born into the same cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity”.

Shakira is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador who has long been involved with campaigning for children's rights and education.  She has her own charity that provides schools for deprived children in her native, Colombia, which she founded at the age of 18.

In 2009 she addressed Oxford University’s student union saying: “I think the children are the foundation in a house and if you don’t build strong foundations for your house, you will spend your entire lives trying to fix problems that will arise.”

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