Browse by Theme: Refugees

Today, June 20th, is World Refugee Day. It’s a day to raise awareness about the challenges faced by refugees and to hold governments accountable for commitments they made under the UN Refugee Convention to protect and assist displaced people. But there are also other sides to the global refugee crisis, which do not get enough attention.

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Today, ministers and senior diplomats from around the world meet with the UN, EU and states involved in the Syrian conflict for a high-level Conference (5 April) to identify ways forward on the crisis. This happens as news from Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib in Syria suggests that an aerial bombardment using chemical weapons has left over 50 dead, and the situation escalates across multiple besieged areas across the country. At the top of the agenda is the question of ‘reconstruction’ – yet what does ‘reconstruction’ mean in a country still at war?

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The plight of refugee women both in Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region has been largely ignored, characterised by a lack of information and lost in the broader sweep of the humanitarian disaster. This won’t be the first time in history women’s issues were side-lined in light of a bigger cause.

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Human Rights Day happens 10 December every year to commemorate the day in 1948 that governments of the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations. Human Rights Day also marks the end of the yearly 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and Girls, which is an important moment in which activists around the world mobilise to raise awareness on women’s rights issues.

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Today and tomorrow (20-21 October 2016), European heads of state meet in Brussels for the European Council. At the top of the agenda is European policy on migration. Having recently returned from Greece where I was supporting CARE’s efforts to help refugees, I’ve seen for myself the desperate situation that so many refugees face. It represents a collective failure of European governments – and the proposals tabled for the European Council risk making the situation worse.

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In the run-up to the Global Summits on Refugees and Migrants at the United Nations in September 2016, CARE launched a petition to campaign for better protection for innocent civilians fleeing conflicts and natural disasters. We had three asks in our petition targeting the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, which secured the support of over 21,000 people. So to what extent did the Refugee and Migrant Summits deliver on our demands?

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There is an irony to current thinking on the private sector and peacebuilding.

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