U2 Call For 'Humanitarian Leadership' Over Refugee Crisis

Rock giants U2 have drawn attention to the plight of refugees and called for "humanitarian leadership" as they kicked off the European leg of their world tour.

Frontman and activist Bono, who addressed Turin's packed Pala Alpitour in Italian on a number of occasions, said he did not have the answers to the refugee crisis but added that we "must work together" to find the solution.

And in an interview with the Press Association, the band's bass player Adam Clayton spoke of the "anger" felt by Europeans who he says are questioning why their governments cannot seem to "do the right thing".

The image of a young Syrian boy washed ashore in Turkey earlier this week sparked outrage and calls for governments throughout Europe to do more to help the tens of thousands of refugees.

Bono made reference to the shocking incident by changing the lyrics in Pride (In the Name of Love) to: "One boy washed up on an empty beach."

The image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying face down in the sand made headlines around the world, becoming a focal point for the deepening refugee crisis.

In a set that included more than two dozen of the band's songs and at one point featured a screen showing footage of refugees, Bono said: "There is a lot of heartache in the world, but there is so much joy in here this evening.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's incredible.

"Watching the news, ordinary people - all of us - seem capable of such great evil and such great love.

"I don't know the answer to the refugee crisis in Europe and Africa but I know we must work together to find an answer to the refugee crisis in Europe and Africa."

He added: "As Nelson Mandela said: 'It always seems impossible until it is done.'"

Bono asked the crowd: "What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe with its heart open?"

Aylan's father Abdullah Kurdi has said he hopes the photograph of his son will bring attention to the plight of refugees.

"I just hope this photo of my son will change everything," he told reporters.

Later, bass player Clayton told PA: "We really like to be able to respond to things as quickly as possible and you know the way the migration really has been covered in the last couple of weeks, you can feel there's a lot of anger out there amongst the citizens of the European nations and they just don't know why their governments can't seem to kind of do the right thing or at least lead on these issues."

Guitarist The Edge said: "Every nation should step forward and do the best they can."

Asked if there was scope for a concert in the style of Band Aid to raise more awareness and funds for refugees, Clayton said: "I think that's a secondary issue. But I think primarily we're in a situation where we have elected leaders who need to show leadership.

"Because we don't know all the issues, we don't know all the information here.

"But definitely, we need to see some humanitarian leadership from Europe."

Commenting on whether U2 would get on board with a Band Aid style event, The Edge said: "I think we'd take it very seriously, but again, as Adam says, it might not be the right response since it couldn't be any more high profile."

He added that it was more an issue for governments.

The Edge told PA that the band tries to touch on issues that are relevant, adding: "We feel like our music should be a reference to what's happening in the milieu around it."

During the concert Bono also made reference to a future where no babies are born with HIV.

"If you tell your leaders this is important to you it will be important to them," he said.

The set included tracks such as Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet the Blue Sky and Beautiful Day.

U2 will play a string of nights at The O2 in London as well as dates in Glasgow before finishing the Innocence and Experience tour in Paris on November 15.