Browse by Theme: Refugees

With humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Africa and Asia having reached the shores of Europe, political attention is finally fixed at what is perhaps the greatest challenge of our time: reversing the trend of ever greater numbers of people deprived and displaced by war or natural disasters, and the failure to provide them with the dignified assistance they need. The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23 and 24 is an historic opportunity to kick-start that effort. Unfortunately, despite years of preparation and a very thorough process of consultation by the UN, I fear this opportunity is going to be missed.

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During five years of war, Syrian women have taken on new roles and responsibilities in supporting their families. However, Syrian women both in Syria and in refugee contexts encounter substantial barriers as they try to establish new livelihoods, and are increasingly exposed to protection risks, both inside and outside the home.

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This week, days on from the #SupportingSyrians Conference, and like everyone else, I watched the news to see the devastation caused as Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes rained down on civilians in the Aleppo region and 35,000 people fled to the border with Turkey. Ten billion dollars pledged by world leaders, yet where are these leaders as Syrians cry out for protection from the violence? In the words of one Syrian activist last week, “What use is funding if the sieges prevent aid reaching those trapped inside and starving to death? What use is funding if our health clinics are bombed to the ground? What use is support for schools if barrel bombs fall on our children?”

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Summary report from private sector and civil society roundtable, 21 January 2016

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I met several Syrians in Jordan and Turkey during a recent visit (mid-January). All of them said they just wanted the war and the violence to stop so they could go home. Some were more hopeful than others that this would happen soon. But that’s what they all wanted.

So, what if we try to be a bit optimistic. Are we ready to respond if we get what we’re asking for?

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Ahead of the Syria conference in London in early February, donors and governments in the region are working closely to agree a new plan for responding to the refugee crisis in the region. The private sector will be critical to its success.

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With no end to the conflict in Syria in sight, the four million people forced to flee the country have no foreseeable prospect of safe return. And as the impact of the crisis on neighbouring countries grows and aid dries up, the situation for these refugees is becoming increasingly dire. This briefing calls for a new approach by the international community, including Syria’s neighbours; one which offers hope, safety and dignity to the millions of refugees, and gives them a chance to contribute to the societies and economies of their hosts.

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