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Former foreign minister Axworthy to lead new international refugee council

OTTAWA - Former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy has been tapped to lead a new international group in search of practical solutions to the world's massive refugee crisis.

Axworthy will head the World Refugee Council, which will be run out of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont.

The council is branding itself as a fresh perspective on finding solutions to an unprecedented crisis that has uprooted 21 million people and forced them to flee their home countries.

Axworthy will be joined on the council that includes a group of former and current politicians from Greece, Germany, Tanzania and Pakistan, among others.

The group says it will work with the ongoing United Nations effort to create what is being called a new Global Compact on refugees.

However, the council says in a statement that it will provide research and recommendations aimed at "structural reform" of the refugee system.

Axworthy said the current refugee protection system is struggling to meet current needs.

"Now more than ever there is an urgent need for bold and innovative thinking on how we can improve international co-operation and ensure more predictable outcomes for refugees and states alike," Axworthy said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau endorsed the creation of the council.

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