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A CEO's call to help and protect Syrian refugees

A Syrian refugee, from Kobani, carries her baby as she arrives with other Syrian refugees on a dinghy on the island of Lesbos, Greece August 23, 2015. Greece, mired in its worst economic crisis in generations, has been found largely unprepared for a mass influx of refugees, mainly Syrians. Arrivals have exceeded 160,000 this year, three times as high as in 2014.
Alkis Konstantinidis | Reuters

Kevin Ryan is one of the most successful internet entrepreneurs around, co-founding dozens of tech startups including DoubleClick, which he sold to Google for $3.1 billion dollars. He also co-founded and led Gilt.com, Business Insider, Zola, Kontor and MongoDB.

Ryan is also a passionate advocate for global victims of tyranny, and active board member on Human Rights Watch, a non profit, non-governmental voice for justice across the globe.

Appearing on CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Wednesday, Ryan explained why leaders have a moral obligation to help protect the rights of refugees and migrants in Europe.

Read MoreWhy Syrian refugees pose no threat

"These families and individuals are fleeing violence and persecution and unspeakable horror. It is our duty to uphold and protect them," said Ryan.

"Yes, we need to secure and protect our cities and countries," said Ryan. "But at the same time, countries need immigration, they need people. And the vast, vast, vast majority who are trying to get into Europe are people who are fleeing the same things all our ancestors fled at some point."

An estimated seven million Syrians have fled the violence in their country since the outbreak of civil war in 2011. Neighboring nations Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq host about one quarter of them, many in squalid, overcrowded refugee camps.

Earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of refugees overwhelmed the European Union's borders and resources, with Germany alone projecting 800,000 asylum applications. And in the United States, the Obama Administration promised to take in 10,000 Syrians.

"I am very worried that the EU will clamp down its borders. But this is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime, and not only is this the humane thing to do It also is an economical choice because it will make nations stronger and smarter and safer in the long run."

"Remember, Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant," said Ryan, referring to Jobs' biological father, Abdullfattah "John" Jandall, born 1931 in Homs, Syria. Jandall and his wife, Joanne Schieble, later put Jobs up for adoption in 1955, the year he was born.

"There is an urgent need to protect civilians who continue to live in fear and chaos and stress," said Ryan. "We need commitment from world leaders so they can achieve a better life and contribute to our society. Jobs' legacy is a reminder of what children of refugees can achieve. We have to do our part."