UN refugee chief predicts economic crisis will fuel racism

February 23, 2009 05:00

The global economic crisis will create more refugees and fuel xenophobia in some countries, the United Nations refugee chief warned Monday. Antonio Guterres, the world body's high commissioner for refugees, told reporters in the Australian capital Canberra that refugees and migrants can expect to be blamed for economic problems that are deepening in many countries. "In my experience as a politician, I'd say that when things go wrong in a country, there are two potential targets: one is the government, the other is the foreigners," the former Portuguese prime minister said. He described the economic crisis as a "generator of xenophobia" in some countries. He did not name any country. "Xenophobia is an inevitable trend in many parts of the world when the economic situation deteriorates," Guterres said.

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