GENEVA (AA) – The Olympic flame arrived at the UN Office in Geneva Friday as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for showing solidarity with refugees, who will be represented at the games by a special team in Rio 2016.
A child carried the flame to the office at a ceremony, which would eventually make its way to Brazil this summer.
In his remarks made at the ceremony, Ban said: “This flame is a beacon of solidarity with all peoples of the world.”
He backed the refugee team in the Olympics, which is expected to have up to 10 athletes.
“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.
“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,” he said.
“Let us all be on the team of refugees until there is no need for a refugee team at all,” Ban added.
He also mentioned that the UN will convene the World Humanitarian Summit in May in Istanbul “to mobilize global action.”
“I call on all leaders and people to make the most of these global opportunities for progress,” he said.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach also attended the ceremony.
The International Olympic Committee also awarded the UN was with an Olympic Cup, which is given to an association or institution that provides distinguished services to sport or contributed successfully to the promotion of the Olympic ideals.