UNHCR’s Grandi expresses shock following New Zealand’s massacre of innocent worshippers

A boy places flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the mosque attacks, near a police line outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Reuters)

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, offered his sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of New Zealand following the horrific attacks against two mosques which took place on Friday in Christchurch.

''It is with great sadness that I have heard the news of the horrific attacks against two mosques which took place today in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 49 people are believed to have been killed. I offer my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of New Zealand. I share my solidarity with them in their grief and sorrow,'' said Grandi in a statement on Friday.

''While many uncertainties remain, it appears that this act of terror was motivated by hatred and fear of others, and that among those killed are refugees and migrants. This is deeply shocking. At a time of growing hostility towards diversity, the humanity the authorities and people of New Zealand have shown in their response is truly laudable.

''My colleagues and I at UNHCR stand by New Zealand – a country which has generously given refuge to people fleeing conflict and persecution, and whose citizens warmly welcomed them into their towns and cities.''

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