The Refugee Crisis: Rethinking & Strengthening the Response
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Opening Remarks – Moderator, Maher Nasser
- This crisis encompasses not just one area, but the entire world.
- Includes those fleeing lands because of environmental reasons.
Ninette Kelley, Director at UNHCR in New York
- UNHCR is working with 900 partners, with 700 on the ground on the refugee crisis.
- UNHCR provided video – showing ground coverage and present day statistics on refugees.
- 60 million displaced, highest since WWII (60 million would actually make up the 24th largest country in the world)
- 2014 – 42,500 people forced to fell a day ~ 13.9 million at year’s end. This ended up being four times more than total numbers in 2013.
- One refugee describes the voyage as “you buy death for one-thousand dollars a person”
- By the end of 2014 – 38.2 million were internally displaced.
- 2014 – There were 1.7 million asylum seeking applications.
Karen AbuZayd, Special Advisor on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants
- This Summit will occur at the General Assembly in September 2016, Ms. AbuZayd was appointed this year as special advisor.
- The summit, organized by the UN, will look at:
- Analyzing why people are leaving – from region to region
- Mapping out the routes people are traveling – refugees, migrants, and displaced – in all parts of the world.
- It will help communicate statistics, and call for better, more reliable forms of data collection.
Predrag Avramovic, First Counsellor, Head of Humanitarian Section, European Union (EU)
- In order for the EU to remain, it must continue moral obligation to meet refugees’ needs.
- The political strain of the refugee crisis could have significant political implications for the political stability of the European Union.
- The EU runs an operation called SOLAS (Saving Of Lives At Sea) which often rescues those trying to migrate across the Mediterranean.
- EU currently working/making new policies. In particular there are issues around the internal relocation of refugees within the EU and shared responsibility for external boarders including a coastguard.
- An important priority at the moment is border rules of the EU countries. Currently there is a “Schengen zone” allowing free movement between many European countries. New border controls may threat the existence of this zone which would have economic and political consequences for the EU.
- Dialogue between countries needs enhancement. There is a need for a coherent and enforceable policy.
- There’s currently a demographic decline of Europeans, a decline of skills workers in Europe.
- EU works towards avoiding conflict and to resolve current conflict. For issues still existent, the humanitarian needs to be met – including livelihood support and education opportunities.
Samantha Sottoli, UNICEF Representative
- UNHCR statistic – Middle East has 4.7 million refugees, where half are children.
- South Sudan’s 223,000 refugees are 2/3 children.
- UNICEF’s work on the ground includes:
- Coordination, capacity building, and developing protocols
- Working towards getting kids back into school
- Instilling rapid family tracing (RFT) efforts
- Psychosocial support services - child friendly spaces, water and sanitation, food and nutrition.
- UNICEF and UNHCR working together in seeking out this population, and working to educating them on the services applicable for them.
- UNICEF is currently facing the following barriers in this issue:
- Political issues of the countries prohibiting work and help
- Reliable data collecting tools and information.
- Providing rapid and timely services. i.e. refugee children are constantly moving in some cases.
Regarding future plans, UNICEF is working towards a global program strategy, for further advocacy work on the crisis à fighting for 3 ultimate goals:
- Making it a duty of all states to protect children before, during, and after their journey.
- Children are the first peoples treated in any circumstance.
- Principle of family unity – no child should be separated from his/her family.
Neil Grungras, Executive Director at ORAM (Organization for Refugee, Asylum, and Migration)
- He skyped in the meeting, living at the heart of the crisis in Turkey
- ORAM works specifically with LGBTQI refugees around the world – a group of people prone to additional violence, lack of services, and danger.
- Works with others NGOs and UN agencies in providing services to refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
TSA to look in partnerships with UN agencies with their work in Europe, Northern Africa, and other areas prone to refugees, and create partnerships and enhanced services for these people.
TSA to develop fast-acting services to refugees, a population of people often on-the-go.
There’s need for education and services to children. TSA continues valuable work with children around the world – and can pursue on-the-site service provisions for children displaced from homes.
Continued advocacy is needed. TSA holds a special voice and viewpoint due to its work on the ground and around the world.