World Refugee Day – 20 June 2015

On June 15th Amnesty International launched a report ‘Global Refugee Crisis: A Conspiracy of Neglect,’  outlining the global refugee crisis – from Lebanon to Kenya, the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It calls for a global response to what has become one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. The current approaches to the world’s many refugee crises are failing – and the toll in lives lost and lives blighted is far higher than many armed conflicts. 

Amnesty International believes that a paradigm shift on refugee protection must include eight key actions by the international community:

An international summit on the global refugee crisis focused on increasing international responsibility and burden sharing;

  Global ratification of the Refugee Convention;

  Develop robust domestic refugee systems: states must have fair domestic procedures to assess refugee claims and must guarantee fundamental rights and access to services, such as education and healthcare, to refugees;

An absolute commitment to saving lives first: states must prioritise saving people in distress over implementing immigration policies. In situations where people are in danger of death, including – but not limited to – people attempting sea crossings, states should invest in search and rescue operations and immediately come to the rescue of people in distress. This imperative should never be trumped by any border control objectives;

Combat trafficking: states must take effective action to investigate and prosecute trafficking gangs. States should offer protection and assistance to victims of trafficking and ensure they have access to refugee status determination procedures and/or resettlement opportunities;
Fulfil all resettlement needs identified by UNHCR: nearly one million resettlement and humanitarian admission places are required for refugees who need resettlement and this number will increase every year. Amnesty International estimates that, 300,000 annual resettlement and humanitarian admission places will be needed every year over the next four years;

Combat xenophobia: governments must refrain from engaging in xenophobia themselves, for example by implying or directly claiming asylum-seekers and migrants are to blame for economic and social problems. Governments must also have effective policies to address xenophobic violence;

Establish a global refugee fund: such a fund should fulfil all UN humanitarian appeals for refugee crises. This fund should also provide meaningful financial support to countries hosting large numbers of refugees to help them provide services to refugees and their host communities. This should be additional to existing development aid.

Read the full report in English

Crise Mondiale des Refugies (French)

“Good Shepherd’s first response to migrants and refugees is to welcome them as one would welcome the Divine among us. We honor the culture and heritage they bring, help them in resettlement or regularization, and celebrate the positive contributions migrants make to the economic, social and cultural lives of a new locality.

We advocate for generous refugee policies that provide protection for those fleeing oppression and discrimination.” Good Shepherd position paper on Migrants, GSIJPO,2011

For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and even Weeks. One of the most widespread is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on 20 June in several countries.

The UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.   Read more

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that ‘Migrants need protection not push-backs’  Read more

‘There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.’  From Paragraph 25 of Laudato Si by Pope Francis.  Laudato Sis (in 8 Languages)

See Article in Guardian of Monday June 15th

Global Trends – Forced Displacement 2014  UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency    By the end of 2014, the total population of concern to UNHCR stood at an unprecedented 54.9 million persons.

The International Rescue Committee President David Miliband responded to the UNHCR Global Trends – 59.5 million reasons …

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