World Humanitarian Summit: A Reflection
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Theme- One Humanity: Shared Responsibility
“It requires the respect of every member of our communities to save humanity.”
Expectation of the Summit- For commitments to be made by Member States and the Political will stimulated to drive forward on the commitments made.
Reports of Meetings Attended
Round Table 3- Leaving No-one Behind- A commitment to address forced displacement.
Speakers were given 3 minutes each to speak. Speakers included member state representatives from UK, Uganda, Columbia, Lebanon, Turkey, Georgia, Kenya, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Denmark, Ethiopia, Jordan, Switzerland, USA, The Philippines and Somalia, and Representatives from the Middle East World Bank Group, Western Union and The International Red Cross.
- There are 60 million displaced people worldwide (including internally displaced people)
- There are 244 million migrants worldwide
- Turkey hosts 2.7 million refugees, Lebanon and Jordan over 1 million, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia between ½ and ¾ of a million each.
- 8 countries host > half the world’s refugees and these are mainly middle and low income countries
- Countries hosting large numbers of refugees asked for the rest of the world to acknowledge the sacrifices being made by their peoples in order to host them.
- Host countries requested fiscal consideration and extra aid to receive and care for the refugees. The extra burden being placed on some of these countries is causing some to be at the edge of collapse
- Treatment of refugees and migrants should be first and foremost that of respect to their humanity
- Negative associations should not be attached to refugees and migrants
- All nations share the responsibility for migrants and refugees and nations were requested to step up and meet those responsibilities
- Only 10% of refugees are living in camps, the others are living within their host communities
- Camps are not the answer, they are often harsh and they accommodate too many for too long. They do not solve the problem.
- The camps in Kenya have become centres of organize crime and harbor terrorist elements
- Most refugees are displaced for >10 yrs and the average is now 17years
- In areas of conflict such as Afghanistan, some people are internally displaced many times
- Refugees and their host countries wish for their return
- The issue of migration and refugees cannot be seen in isolation but also needs to consider conflict resolution, peace building and development
- The drivers of migration and refugees must be addressed including poverty and conflict
- The right to asylum must be defended and all repatriation must be voluntary
- Unless systemic change to scale are undertaken the world will not be able to cope with the needs of refugees. An increase of 30% over 2015 levels of aid is being requested.
- A Global Compact is being prepared on sharing responsibility for refugees
- The UN, World Bank Group and Islamic Relief Bank are mobilizing donations to provide an extra $4 million for concessionary relief to host countries
Special Session 1. Religious Engagement: The Contributions of Faith Communities to our Shared Humanity
Representation was made by multiple faith communities including Christians from the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Traditions, The Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Ba’hai Faiths.
- Faith Communities are present before, during and after the crisis
- They are an integral part of the community and know the community well, it’s culture, needs and issues
- In fragility people rely on traditional communities and often faith communities
- Love of God and love of neighbor is the underlying faith community’s motivation – one around which diverse faith communities can respond to need.
- Faith communities can be a platform for human values
- Shared humanity is partnership in action
- Religion can have a positive effect.
- Commitment of faith communities to use of their influence for long term stability, community cohesion and addressing grievances
- Transparency, trust and partnership are the basis of successful inter-religious dialogue
- Humanitarian responses need to be localized to be more effective and faith communities are often the first responders. Recognition and funding of faith community initiatives can improve the international response to humanitarian crises.
- The final word – See us. Hear us. Know us. Work with us.
Special Session 13. People at the Centre
- Often aid is not directed by the people’s need but by the responder’s perception of the need
- A change in mind set is needed to hear and act on the affected peoples’ voice
- Political and system wide accountability is needed
- 9 out of 10 Syrian refugees in Jordan received aid but only 3 out of 10 found it useful
- 2 out of 3 affected people rely on their religious leaders for information about accessing aid
- Direct funding to local actors at present accounts for only 1.7% of the total aid funding
- 93% of Syrian responders use SMS as the preferred method of communication
- “Smart phones require smart policies”
- Information on self- protection is crucial e.g. protecting from water borne disease
- Bombarding with aid initially and then withdrawing leaves people destitute. Transition into development is needed
- Support should not be given to those who are asking but to those who are serving.
- Peace is not that which is written on a piece of paper – not peace until is active.
- Governments are squeezing out the voice of civil society
- Don’t use counter-terrorism as an excuse to side line citizens
- Refugees are calling out for a voice so as not to be “left behind”
- Support not FOR people but WITH people
- Need not for ‘packaged programmes’ but for ‘designing programmes after listening’
- Call for not just commitments but for action on those commitments
Side Event: Religious Engagement
Sponsored by the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLIFLC)
This side event launched 2 papers produced by the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities
- Evidence for Religious Groups’ Contributions to Humanitarian Response
- Peace and Conflict Learning Hub Scoping Paper
The evidence brief covered 5 topics
- Engaging faith communities to meet the needs of people living in conflict
- The role of religion in upholding humanitarian and human rights norms
- Faith communities are key actors in empowering and protecting girls and addressing gender based violence
- Engaging local faith communities for sustainable capacity for prevention and response
- Investing in humanity means supporting local faith communities’ work in reducing the impact of crises
All these documents can be found at www.jliflc.com/whs
Side Event-Global Responsibility Sharing: A New International Framework
Sponsored by Danish refugee Council and Centre for International Governance Innovation
- A new framework is needed to address the issue of refugees and migration
- There is a huge disparity between the need and the political will and the resources needed to address the issue
- All indications are that the issue of migration and refugees will only get worse with effects of climate change
- Climate change contributes to global conflict. Extreme weather conditions in Australia and Canada contributed to food insecurity in Africa which in turn contributed to 14 conflicts in Africa
- The response is short term and short sighted
- Movements of people do not stop if legal avenues are closed, they merely shift
- Lack of respect for human rights, non-compliance to International Law, and States shying away from their responsibilities has led to a lack of protection for the vulnerable
- Refugee and migrant groups are diverse. This is not a local or regional problem, it is a global one
- The Syrian Crisis has pushed the humanitarian system beyond its limits
- Situation has been worsened by arising during a global economic depression, a misleading media response, and the feeling of threat to the freedom of movement across Europe by the presence of refugees.
- Adopting the [policies of extremists to keep them out of power is self- defeating
- The deal between the EU and Turkey is highly problematic and outsources Europe’s responsibilities to Turkey
- The crisis is not so much of Syrian refugees but more a crisis of policy making. The world could cope with the refugees if it had planned in advance and acted coherently
- The present strategy of keeping the refugees out is a poor response
Recommendations were made
- For a new global compact including a review of the 1951 declaration
- A new framework that provided long term, shared, comprehensive and integrated solutions with a more even distribution of refugee hosting and resettlement
- The issue of rejected asylum seekers needs to be addressed
- Denouncement of anti-refugee and anti-muslim rhetoric and combat of xenophobia
- Strengthening of the Rapporteur role for action
- Implementation of the Sendai Framework ($313 billion damage each year by natural disasters = 2xtotal ODA budget and 700,000 deaths)
- Implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction and supported by predictable, sustainable and flexible funding
- Smooth transitioning from disaster relief to development strategies
- The burden of refugees shared not just by governments but by individuals and groups (as in the Canadian system of sponsoring refugees)
Side Event - Responding to Victims and the Vulnerable: Addressing Human Trafficking in Humanitarian Situations
Sponsored by UNODC and USA
- Conflict increases poverty and often results in negative coping strategies, both resulting in increased vulnerability
- ISIS and other similar groups are endorsing sexual slavery and trafficking as socially acceptable. Survivors tell of execution of all men and enslavement of all women captured including girls above the age of 9 years
- Trafficking methods include offers of brokering arranged marriages. Recently 75 Syrian girls who had been trapped in this way by a prostitution ring were rescued. Their experience included having to have sex with 10-20 men per day.
- Children are sometimes sent to work by families who are unable to procure work permits for adults
- Sharwars – Syrian camp oversears- prey on the vulnerable such as single mothers, arranging for the children to work but retaining a major portion of the pay.
Suggestions to address the issue included
- Provision of child and women friendly spaces
- Awareness raising of the issue within the camps
- Staff in the camps made aware and to work with the legal system
- Systematisation of anti- human trafficking initiatives in all arenas of disaster including disaster preparedness
- Faith Communities can assist by raising awareness, fighting stigmatization of victims and survivors, train people to spot the signs of trafficking, record information for later prosecution, and provide services for victims where possible.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
- There are 60 million displaced people worldwide (including internally displaced people) and 244 million migrants worldwide. 8 countries host more than half the world’s refugees and these are mainly middle and low income countries. Asylum seekers and refugees are not a European issue but a global responsibility.
- Faith Communities are present before, during and after the crisis. They are an integral part of the community and know the community well, it’s culture, needs and issues. Humanitarian responses need to be localized to be more effective and faith communities are often the first responders. Recognition and funding of faith community initiatives can improve the international response to humanitarian crises.
- Bombarding with aid initially and then withdrawing leaves people destitute. Smooth transitioning from disaster relief to development strategies is needed.
- Faith Communities can assist anti trafficking in crisis situations by raising awareness, fighting stigmatization of victims and survivors, train people to spot the signs of trafficking, record information for later prosecution, and provide services for victims where possible.