Oxfam International Blogs - migration http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/migration en Why women refugees must be involved in the decisions that affect their lives http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-06-24-why-women-refugees-must-be-involved-decisions-affect-their-lives <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>My name is Susan Grace Duku. I am 33 years old and I have spent 21 of those years as refugee.</strong></p><p>Last week we learned that the number of people in situations like mine - forced from their homes because of violence or persecution – <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/press/2019/6/5d03b22b4/worldwide-displacement-tops-70-million-un-refugee-chief-urges-greater-solidarity.html" rel="nofollow">has passed 70 million worldwide</a>. In responding to this unprecedented challenge, it is paramount that refugees ourselves participate in the decisions that directly affect us and in efforts to find solutions.</p><p>Refugees are often victims of the conflicts they flee from. They also face challenges leaving their home countries, finding asylum in a new place, and in living alongside host communities.</p><p><span>Here in Uganda, many have sought refuge in the country for the second or even third time due to repeated conflicts in their home countries, including my native South Sudan. I first came here in 1992, when I was only seven years old. I came again in 2016.</span></p><p>Being repeatedly uprooted and seeking protection has given us years of experience in how to live harmoniously with host communities, how to find creative ways to make ends meet and how to support each other. The pain and sorrow we have endured also drive our commitment to peace - the most durable solution.</p><p><strong>Global Refugee Forum</strong></p><p>In December, world leaders will come together at the <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/uk/global-refugee-forum.html" rel="nofollow">Global Refugee Forum</a>&nbsp;and commit to concrete steps to improve the lives of refugees.</p><p>If I had the chance to address those delegates, I would urge them to ensure that refugee girls are able to realise their full potential.</p><p>I would use the example of the prominent women delegates in the room and ask whether these women would be seated among us if they had not been supported through education, reproductive health services and other related support.</p><p>I would advocate for peace and for governments to embrace tolerance, accountability and reconciliation to prevent conflicts that result in refugee situations.</p><p>I would ask them to support refugees to be agents of peace.</p><p><strong>Refugees must be able to&nbsp;<span>contribute to decision-making</span></strong></p><p>But refugees should not only participate in international discussions – they should also contribute to decision-making at the local level.</p><p>In Uganda, refugees have platforms through which they can express their challenges and ideas. They democratically elect members of community leadership committees, who raise their voices about any recommendations or grievances. There is also a forum of refugees that engages in debates with the Government. I have set up an organization, called Refugee Women and Youth Aid, that brings together 17 groups of women to share knowledge, skills and experience.</p><p>There are lessons here for other countries, but there are also challenges. It is still too rare for refugees to address leaders at the highest levels, who are in a position to change our lives.</p><p>As a woman refugee leader, I have often been left out of important meetings within the settlement. The male folk still hold women in low esteem due to long-standing cultural beliefs that discriminate against women. Because of such patriarchal beliefs, refugee women and girls need extra support to effectively participate in the design, implementation and review of refugee programs.</p><p><strong>Re<strong>fugees need e</strong>ducation and job opportunities</strong></p><p>As a leader, I call on the Ugandan Government and its humanitarian partners to prioritize proper education at all levels for refugees.</p><p>Having large numbers of displaced young people frustrated or bored because they can’t go to school is a recipe for continued conflict, violence and under development.</p><p>Refugees also yearn for work opportunities so they can supplement humanitarian aid and sustain themselves. Some women are forced to trek large distances to find safe water, firewood and construction materials, and sometimes there are conflicts with host communities over these resources. These problems could be solved through tree planting and proper use of natural resources such as land for agriculture and alternative sources of fuel like briquettes.</p><p>There should be more initiatives to bring refugees and host communities together, to help reduce tensions and suspicions that can trigger violence.</p><p><strong>Women must be included</strong></p><p>None of these challenges can be solved without the active participation of refugee, including women.</p><p>We refugees are not responsible for our displacement. We did not choose to become refugees and we face many difficulties.</p><p>We need to be included in spaces where our voices can be heard, and we must be equally represented in decision-making processes.</p><p><em><img alt="Photo: Susan Duku" title="Photo: Susan Duku" height="200" width="200" style="float: left; margin: 0px 20px 20px 20px" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/susan_duku-200.jpg" />This entry posted on 24 June 2019, by Susan Grace Duku, who is head of our partner agency Refugee Women and Youth Aid in Uganda, and is a refugee. She writes about the importance of refugees participating in decisions that affect their lives - one of Oxfam's key asks ahead of the Global Refugee Forum in December.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Cousins Betty and Florence with their children at the reception center at the Imvepu refugee settlement, Uganda. Credit: Coco McCabe/Oxfam</em></p><p><em>Refugees from South Sudan have been fleeing conflict and hunger in their country, and seeking safety across the border in Uganda. Currently, Uganda is hosting more than 1 million refugees - 82 percent are women and children. Across four districts in settlements like Imvepi and Bidi Bidi, Oxfam and our local partners have reached more than 283,000 refugees with assistance that includes the provision of clean water, sanitation services such as the digging of pit latrines, hygiene promotion, emergency food and livelihoods support, and attention to gender and protection issues. In the last four years, Oxfam has also invested in helping more than 15 local and national organizations build their capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies such as this one.</em></p><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Read more</strong></p><ul><li><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/refugees"><strong>Blogs on refugees and migration</strong></a></li><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/refugee-and-migrant-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's humanitarian work on the refugee/migrant crisis</strong></a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why women refugees must be involved in the decisions that affect their lives</h2></div> Mon, 24 Jun 2019 14:29:43 +0000 Guest Blogger 82006 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-06-24-why-women-refugees-must-be-involved-decisions-affect-their-lives#comments A Taste of Home - recipes for the holidays http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-12-21-taste-home-recipes-holidays <div class="field field-name-body"><p><span>Through the preparation and sharing of food, we show each other that we care. No wonder then that we remember in such vivid detail the meals we have enjoyed with loved ones when we are forced to be apart.</span></p><p>As the festive season is upon us and we start thinking about meals with family and friends, we thought you might appreciate 'A Taste of Home' – a series of traditional dishes shared with Oxfam by those who have been forced to leave their homes and loved ones behind.</p><p><img alt="Recipe card - Adasi" title="Recipe card - Adasi" height="1240" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/a-taste-of-home-eng-adasi-1-final.jpg" /></p><p>The men and women who have written these recipes are <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZKGnXPlx-w&amp;feature=youtu.be" rel="nofollow">asylum seekers who have experienced conflict or persecution</a> in their home countries of Afghanistan, Syria, India, Iran and Pakistan. While their stories may be different, food plays an important role in their lives and the lives of their families.</p><p><img alt="Recipe card -Bolani" title="Recipe card -Bolani" height="1240" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/a-taste-of-home-eng-bolani-1-final.jpg" /></p><p>Oxfam works with refugees and migrants across Europe – in Greece, Italy, Spain and Serbia – providing, with the help of our partners, vital services such as legal aid, protection and advocacy.</p><p><img alt="Recipe card - Fasulye" title="Recipe card - Fasulye" height="1240" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/a-taste-of-home-eng-fasulye-1-final.jpg" /></p><p>Our belief is that food should be both nutritious and culturally appropriate so these recipes were collected as part of a study to evaluate <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZKGnXPlx-w" rel="nofollow">the food provided to asylum seekers in Serbia</a>, where we cook three healthy meals a day for all asylum seekers living in government-led reception centers.</p><p><img alt="Recipe card - Gajar" title="Recipe card - Gajar" height="1240" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/a-taste-of-home-eng-gajar-1-ok-final.jpg" /></p><p>Feel free to share the recipes on social media – or if you’re feeling a bit more creative, try the dishes on your family and friends. Alternatively,&nbsp;share your own family recipes online – simplytag&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam" rel="nofollow">@Oxfam</a>&nbsp;and use the hashtag&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ATasteOfHome&amp;src=typd&amp;lang=en" rel="nofollow">#ATasteOfHome</a>&nbsp;so that we can see what you made!</p><p><img alt="Recipe card - Kookoo" title="Recipe card - Kookoo" height="1240" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="5" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/a-taste-of-home-eng-kookoo-1-final.jpg" /></p><p><img alt="Recipe card - pilav" title="Recipe card - pilav" height="1240" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="6" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/a-taste-of-home-eng-kabuli-pilav-1-final.jpg" /></p><p><em>Top photo: Hassan 7, from Iraq, waits for his brother as they cross the border from Serbia to Croatia, October 2015. Credit: Sam Tarling/Oxfam</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A Taste of Home - recipes for the holidays</h2></div> Fri, 21 Dec 2018 18:38:38 +0000 Guest Blogger 81820 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-12-21-taste-home-recipes-holidays#comments "We just want a life" - Protecting the rights of refugees in Greece http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-12-01-we-just-want-life-protecting-rights-refugees-greece <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Meryem* is 13, legally a child, but she has experienced far more than me or most adults my age. She fled Afghanistan after her father was killed by the Taliban, and traveled with her mother and two brothers through Iran to Turkey, where they paid a smuggler to reach Greece by boat. They arrived in September 2017, and are now stuck in Moria, a so-called ‘EU hotspot’ - a notorious asylum processing center on the island of Lesvos in Greece.</p><p>‘<a href="https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/background-information/docs/2_hotspots_en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Hotspots</a>’ are centers set up by the Greek and Italian governments with the help of the European Union in response to an increase in the number of arrivals on Europe’s shores. In Moria and the other hotspots, people are fingerprinted, receive a medical check and go through legal procedures.</p><p>However, those procedures are so flawed that they <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-03-17/eu-turkey-deal-makes-seeking-refuge-europe-mission-impossible" rel="nofollow">violate people’s fundamental rights</a>. Instead of carefully examining who is in genuine need of international protection, the system is designed to send people back as quickly as possible.</p><p>It’s not just NGOs like Oxfam that say so. Even the audit agency of the EU, the <a href="http://oxfameu.blogactiv.eu/2017/05/09/five-findings-of-the-eu-auditors-on-the-migration-hotspots-that-must-not-go-unnoticed/" rel="nofollow">EU Court of Auditors, has found</a> that the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/apr/24/eu-urgent-protection-23000-unaccompanied-child-refugees-squalid-camps-greece-italy" rel="nofollow">hotspots place people at risk</a>.</p><h3>Barbed wire, but no security</h3><p><img alt="Moria refugee camp, Lesbos, Greece. Photo: Oxfam" title="Moria refugee camp, Lesbos, Greece. Photo: Oxfam" height="930" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/image-2-barbed-wire.jpg" /></p><p><em>Outside Moria refugee camp, Lesbos, Greece. Photo: Oxfam</em></p><p>It’s easy to see why. The Moria camp was designed to host a maximum of 1,500 people, but today more than 4,000 men, women and children are forced to stay here. Next to container houses, tents are erected in every open space that can be found. In these tents, 10 to 20 people sleep, eat, and go about their business without any privacy whatsoever.</p><p>“There are too many people in the camp,” says Meryem. “Men sometimes come to our tent and demolish things. It’s very intimidating.”</p><p>The camp is surrounded by barbed wire and fences, but there is little security for the people inside. Meryem and her mom told me that they are afraid, especially during the evenings and nights, when brawls break out and they are harassed by strangers.</p><h3>Vulnerable people falling through the cracks</h3><p>There is a lack of everything in the camp: proper food, proper places to go to the toilet and shower, activities that will keep them busy.</p><p>There aren’t even enough people qualified to carry out medical examinations. That means that many vulnerable people are falling through the cracks and do not get the help they need. Only those with visible disabilities are likely to be selected to be moved to the Greek mainland, where more facilities are available, while they wait for their asylum applications to be processed.</p><p>Meanwhile, people with severe trauma, victims of sexual violence, people with illnesses that do not show up immediately, or those struggling with mental health: they are likely to be kept trapped in Moria for months and months, without any essential aid or support.</p><h3>A sanctuary outside of the official system</h3><p><strong><img alt="The Bashira Women&#039;s Center, in Moria refugee camp, offers a sanctuary to women and girls. Photo: Oxfam" title="The Bashira Women&#039;s Center, in Moria refugee camp, offers a sanctuary to women and girls. Photo: Oxfam" height="930" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/image-5-bashira-center-1240_0.jpg" /></strong></p><p>The <a href="https://www.sao-english.ngo/bashira-centre" rel="nofollow">Bashira Women Center</a> is one of the very few escapes on the island for girls like Meryem and her mother. It offers a sanctuary to women. The Center, set up with the help of Oxfam, its interior brightly painted and with orange trees in the little courtyard, is where they can take a much needed shower, where they can knit, talk to social workers or study. “We come to Bashira to be in a safe place,” says Meryem.</p><p>When asked what she would wish for most now, Meryem answers without hesitation: she wants to continue her education, as she has set her heart on becoming a doctor. However, none of the children in Moria – who make up more than fifty percent of the total population of the camp – go to school.</p><p>The work of the dedicated professionals and volunteers at the Bashira Women Center and other similar projects is essential in supporting people who are suffering in Moria. But the work they do can only address the symptoms of the problem, not the cause. Those causes can be traced back to the European Union, it does not need to be this way, there can be <a href="https://medium.com/@Oxfam/the-eu-needs-a-new-migration-policy-heres-how-to-make-it-work-for-people-bb9b72302add" rel="nofollow">a humane migration policy that protects people</a>.</p><h3>Instead of detention: dignity</h3><p>It’s mind-boggling that this is happening in our own European Union. And even more so, that the European Commission has recently proposed that Moria should be a blue-print for other hotspots.</p><p>What is needed most is not more prison-like centers like Moria, but an asylum procedure that safeguards the rights of those seeking protection; that treats people in a dignified manner; that offers education to children and medical help to all those in dire need.</p><p>So that children like Meryem can go to school to become doctors and teachers and technicians. So they can have a future.</p><p>“We just want a life,” says Meryem. Her mother nods in consent.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Evelien van Roemburg, Oxfam Policy Lead Displacement, on 1 December 2017. All photos <em>Evelien van Roemburg/Oxfam.</em><br></em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/winteriscoming/email-target/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Sign the petition asking Greece's Prime Minister Tsipras to keep asylum-seekers safe this winter</strong></a></p><p><strong>Read the blog: <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/16-12-21-female-migrants-need-safe-peaceful-space">Female migrants need a safe and peaceful space</a></strong><em><br></em></p><p><strong>Read more about how <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/refugee-and-migrant-crisis/greece" rel="nofollow">Oxfam is helping refugees and migrants in Greece</a></strong><em><br></em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>&quot;We just want a life&quot; - Protecting the rights of refugees in Greece</h2></div> Fri, 01 Dec 2017 12:50:49 +0000 Guest Blogger 81329 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-12-01-we-just-want-life-protecting-rights-refugees-greece#comments Dear Family: Refugees in Greece write to their loved ones http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-06-19-world-refugee-day-love-letters-people-stranded-greece <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Forced migration separates families</strong>. It wrenches children from their parents and grandparents, separates siblings, forces partners to live apart, and destroys extended family networks. During the past months Oxfam has interviewed people that have been stranded in Greece and asked them to share their experiences during their perilous journeys to Europe and the separation from their family.</p><p><strong>The right to family life</strong> and the <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-greece-family-unity-190617-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">protection of the family</a> is a shared value that cuts across cultures.</p><p>People who were separated from their family told us about the severe implications of separation in their lives, and wrote letters to their loved ones in other EU member states.</p><p></p><h3><img alt="Abdul from Herat, Afghanistan. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam" title="Abdul from Herat, Afghanistan. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam" height="412" width="300" style="float: right;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/abdul-300.jpg" />Abdul from Afghanistan</h3><p>Abdul from Herat, Afghanistan hopes to reunite with his wife and son in Germany. He wrote a heart-warming letter to them, while he waits for his family reunification request to be processed in Epirus.<br><br>“Greetings to my wife Zahra Ahmadi and to my dear son Mohamad Taha Jan that are now in the city of Hamburg, Germany.</p><p>"I hope both of you are in good health and spirit. I hope one day I will be next to you and once again we live together. May God protect both of you.<br><br>With respect,<br>Abdul Algafar Ahmadi”</p><p></p><hr><p></p><h3><img alt="Afrin, from Northern Syria. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam" title="Afrin, from Northern Syria. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam" height="414" width="300" style="float: left;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/najat-300.jpg" />Najat from Syria</h3><p>Najat fled with only a few members of her family from the town of Afrin, Northern Syria and she now lives in Epirus, in Greece.</p><p>She hopes to reunite with her oldest son who arrived in Germany in 2016. Her letter reads:</p><p>“My dear son Mohannad, how are you? How is your health?</p><p>"I am your mother in Greece. Thank God that we are OK, nothing is missing, except seeing you and your brothers.</p><p>"How’s your health, and everything else? Let me know about yourself."</p><p></p><hr><h3><br><img alt="Hazem, a 20-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who lives in Greece. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam " title="Hazem, a 20-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who lives in Greece. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam " height="450" width="300" style="float: right; margin: 0px 0px 10px 10px;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/img_9566-hazem-300.jpg" />Hazem from Syria</h3><p>“Hi, I am Hazem, I hope you haven’t forgotten me yet.”</p><p>Hazem, a 20-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who lives in Greece, shared his feelings about the separation of his family, and sends a powerful message to European governments:<br><br>“I am almost 20 and I live in an apartment in Ioannina, working as an interpreter/cultural mediator for an NGO called Terre des Hommes. My main work is in the community center of Ioannina.&nbsp; […] I am in touch with my family, my mum, who has stayed with my little brother back in Syria, my brothers, who are in Germany, and my sister, who lives in a camp in Konitsa. I haven’t seen my brothers for two years and my mum for almost 1 year and a half. […] My mum and my brother are still in Syria. We couldn’t find a way for them to join us in Europe or even to be in a safe site [in Syria]. Now, they are a bit safe because of the ceasefire in Idlib […] But anyway, this is not a permanent solution, it is a painkiller!!</p><p>"Honestly, I miss my mum the most, I miss her hugs, her presence inside our home, her delicious food, and everything related to her. I am still stuck in Greece having a sharp desire to continue my studies in medicine which were interrupted due to conflict and study also about cultures and religions, how they affect each other, and how to approach people from different backgrounds. […] I want to take the next step and learn a new language and integrate with the society. […] It is still hard to feel stable. I am worried about the rest of my family and this is a sharp challenge. Regarding that, I have something to say to the European governments: We are still human, please, support the family reunification more and give it more importance […]. Because people are suffering from family dispersion and I am one of them. […]”</p><hr><p>The EU, and its member states, are failing to protect the right to family life for migrants, including refugees, as Oxfam’s new policy brief ‘<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/dear-family-how-european-migration-policies-are-keeping-families-apart" rel="nofollow">Dear Family</a>’ showcases. Their policies and practices are tearing families apart, forcing them to continue living apart after being separated during displacement and exposing people to risks.</p><p><strong>How will the EU respond to Hazem and so many others like him?</strong></p><p><em>Since January 2015 more than 1 million women and men fleeing war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty entered or passed through Greece in search of safety and a better life in Europe. Oxfam is working in Athens, Lesbos Island and the Epirus region of North-West Greece, responding to the urgent needs of people arriving.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/refugee-and-migrant-crisis/greece%20" rel="nofollow">Please support our work</a>.</em><br><br><em>This entry posted by Angeliki-Nika, Advocacy Officer, Oxfam in Greece, on 19 June 2017.</em></p><ul><li><em>All b&amp;w photos: credit <em>Felipe Jacome/Oxfam</em></em></li><li><em><em></em></em><em>Top photo: Samia lives with her husband and three of her children in Filippiada site, and her husband is very sick. She is hoping to be reunited with her other two children who are in Germany. She hasn’t seen her son now for two years and her daughter for 6 months. Credit: Felipe Jacome/Oxfam</em></li><li><em>Hazem was <a href="https://www.oxfamnovib.nl/dit-doen-wij/over-oxfam-novib/ambassadeurs/ariane-schluter" rel="nofollow">interviewed previously by Oxfam Novib</a> (in Dutch). Photo credit: Angelos Sioulas/Oxfam<br></em></li></ul><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><strong>Read the Oxfam report: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-greece-family-unity-190617-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Dear Family: How European migration policies are keeping families apart</a></strong></p><p><strong>Learn more about <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/refugee-and-migrant-crisis/greece%20" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s response in Greece</a></strong></p><p><strong>Join the global movement to <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/stand-as-one/petition/" rel="nofollow">push Governments on helping refugees and migrants</a><br></strong></p><p><strong>Read more blogs on <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/greece">Oxfam helping refugees and migrants in Greece</a></strong></p><p><br><br><br></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Dear Family: Refugees in Greece write to their loved ones</h2></div> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:21:33 +0000 Angeliki Nika 81106 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-06-19-world-refugee-day-love-letters-people-stranded-greece#comments Can official development assistance be reformed to help the poorest countries? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-04-21-can-official-development-assistance-be-reformed-help-poorest-countries <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>The rules defining official development assistance, a key poverty reduction tool, are currently being revised by the OECD. But if governments and citizens from the South are not consulted more, this reform is likely to be in their detriment.</strong></p><p>The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is <a href="http://www.oecd.org/fr/cad/financementpourledeveloppementdurable/modernisation-dac-statistical-system.htm" rel="nofollow">currently revising</a> the rules defining what can be counted as official development assistance (ODA), which is a key poverty reduction tool. If this reform is not combined with the required criteria and safeguards – established in consultation with governments and citizens in the South – it is likely to be to the detriment of the poorest.</p><h3>A crucial reform devised behind closed doors</h3><p>For over two years now, representatives from donor countries have been busy with a very full agenda, under the leadership of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in Paris.</p><p>Their objective is to revise the rules on what can – or cannot – be counted as official development assistance. The two priorities for 2017 are to define to what extent ODA can 1) promote private sector development in developing countries, and 2) finance the reception of refugees in rich countries. While this may appear to be technical work, it does have fundamental policy implications for the future of ODA. Yet until now, discussions have been proceeding behind closed doors in Paris, without any proper consultation with the first to feel the impact, i.e. developing countries and civil society. The importance of a transparent and inclusive reform process had, however, been set out in the <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/CONF.227/L.1" rel="nofollow">Financing for Development Agreement</a> (point 55) endorsed in Addis Ababa in 2015.</p><p><strong><img alt="A meeting at the OECD Conference Center in Paris. Credit: OECD/Andrew Wheeler" title="A meeting at the OECD Conference Center in Paris. Credit: OECD/Andrew Wheeler" height="667" width="1000" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oecd-img_2447.jpg" /></strong></p><h3>Promoting aid to support the private sector: what impact on the fight against poverty?</h3><p><strong>The first area of the reform aims</strong> to bring about a more extensive eligibility and use of ODA in the form of loans, investments or guarantees for private actors[1]. This type of financing is often channeled through development finance institutions – PROPARCO in the case of France. The stated objective of this reform is to promote private sector development in poor countries, resulting in more growth and job creation.</p><p><strong>There is no doubt that the private sector plays a crucial role</strong> in the development process. The growth generated by private actors has contributed to an unprecedented reduction in poverty around the world in recent decades. Consequently, it makes real sense for public authorities to promote inclusive and sustainable growth that is broadly beneficial and preserves the planet. However, given the often mixed results of partnerships between public and private actors, which are one of the forms of private sector mobilization for development, Oxfam has doubts as to the relevance and legitimacy of the use of limited ODA funds to support projects conducted by the private sector. The use of a public-private partnership for the construction and management of the largest hospital in Lesotho, supported by the IFC – the World Bank’s private investment arm – is a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/07/lesotho-health-budget-private-consortium-hospital" rel="nofollow">telling example of the dangers of this model</a>, and of the negative impacts it can have on inequalities.</p><p><strong>An <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-private-finance-blending-for-development-130217-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Oxfam and Eurodad study</a> shows that there is limited evidence</strong> on the impact that partnerships with the private sector have on development and poverty reduction. Furthermore, the study shows that these partnerships often fail to align with the fundamental principles of aid effectiveness : the ownership by partner countries is limited, and transparency and accountability are lacking. It is certainly more complicated to apply these standards in the case of financial arrangements involving private partners. It is precisely for this reason that donors need to make greater efforts to ensure that all public funds labelled “ODA” respect the spirit of these principles, otherwise we fear that there will be a decline in the quality of aid.</p><p><strong>Another area of concern is that it is sometimes more difficult to prevent environmental and social risks</strong> in the context of projects involving private intermediaries, as shown by a recent study on projects supported by the World Bank, which transit through commercial banks and private capital funds in Southeast Asia. In addition, <a href="http://www.eurodad.org/files/pdf/1546237-a-private-affair-shining-a-light-on-the-shadowy-institutions-giving-public-support-to-private-companies-and-taking-over-the-development-agenda.pdf" rel="nofollow">almost half </a>of the beneficiaries of the funds disbursed by development finance institutions are subsidiaries of companies based in OECD countries. Consequently, an increase in the aid transiting through these entities leads to the risk of large groups in developed countries benefiting more than private operators – especially SMEs – in developing countries.</p><p><strong>Finally, this type of project tends to focus on middle-income countries</strong> rather than on least developed countries, where it is more difficult to achieve a return on investment. They also tend to focus on the energy, industry and banking sectors. In the long term, encouraging the use of aid for this type of project could redefine the scope of ODA, and result in less financing for public programs in social sectors, such as health and education. In a context where official development assistance volumes are generally stagnant (or even in decline in certain countries), there is a need to question the way in which this reform can influence donor practices, in the more or less distant future, and thereby shape a certain way of defining aid over the long term.</p><p><strong>Civil society organizations, including Oxfam</strong>, have developed a set of detailed recommendations in order to ensure that the ongoing reform is combined with demanding criteria and safeguards that will minimize these risks. The aim is to ensure that the poorest populations gain the most from these new rules. It is also about protecting the credibility of official development assistance as a poverty reduction tool.</p><p><img alt="People from Somalia, Sudan and Morocco and elsewhere arriving at the military port of Lampedusa, Sicily. Credit: Italian Coast Guard, Nov 2015" title="People from Somalia, Sudan and Morocco and elsewhere arriving at the military port of Lampedusa, Sicily. Credit: Italian Coast Guard, Nov 2015" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/_mg_2207-italian-coast-guard-migrants-1240x680.jpg" /></p><h3>Using ODA to host refugees: robbing Peter to pay Paul?</h3><p><strong>The revision of rules on the use of ODA for expenditures related to hosting refugees in rich countries poses another major challenge.</strong> The eligibility of this type of expenditure has been authorized by the OECD since 1988, but had remained somewhat marginal until recently. However, between 2010 and 2016, this expenditure sharply grew from USD 3.4 billion to USD 15.4 billion, reaching almost 11 % of the total ODA budget. In 2016, a significant proportion of the budget was devoted to it in a number of European countries : 38 % in Austria, 34 % in Italy, and 25 % in Germany.</p><p>The situation in France is for the time being a bit different, as these costs (which accounted for 4.5 % of the aid budget in 2016) are borne by the budget of the Ministry of the Interior, then added to ODA expenditure. The figures give us some food for thought : in 2015, while European DAC members devoted USD 9.7bn of official development assistance to receive 1.2 million asylum seekers in their own territories, they only spent USD 3.2bn for aid in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan – the 5 main countries where asylum seekers come from.</p><p><strong>This practice is <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/rich-countries-misleading-public-about-overseas-aid-spending" rel="nofollow">denounced by Oxfam</a>,</strong> as well as by a number of other civil society organizations, and has recently been questioned by the <a href="https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/poor-countries-pay-twice-for-refugees-by-jorge-moreira-da-silva-2017-02?referrer=/mFHsTHOvw9" rel="nofollow">OECD Secretariat</a>. It is obviously the responsibility of developed countries to receive refugees and mobilize the financing required to meet their needs and respect their rights. But in the view of civil society, this financing – whether additional or allocated from existing development assistance budgets and therefore to the detriment of projects in poor countries – should not be credited as ODA, as it does not support developing countries.</p><p>This expenditure is made in the territories of Western countries, and must consequently be considered as coming under their national policies and budgets.</p><p><strong>The reform could have provided the opportunity</strong> to end, once and for all, this rule, which allows rich countries to affix the “ODA” label on money which does not contribute to the development of poor countries. Unfortunately, this is not on the agenda of the DAC, which has only decided to “clarify” the rules in order to limit the room for interpretation and harmonize reporting practices.</p><p>While we deplore this missed opportunity, we do see it as a <a href="http://www.oecd.org/dac/CSO%20inputs%20on%20clarification%20of%20rules%20on%20ODA%20to%20in-donor%20refugee%20costs.pdf" rel="nofollow">chance to tighten the rules</a>. This includes clarifying the non-eligibility of certain expenditure : administrative, police, security, control, repatriation costs… Stricter reporting could mark the first step towards a total exclusion in the long term of this expenditure which, in our opinion, artificially inflates ODA figures.</p><p>With this reform, the integrity of <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/multimedia/video/2010-does-aid-work" rel="nofollow">official development assistance as the main tool to reduce poverty and inequalities in the South</a> is at stake. Aid plays a vital role in least developed countries, where it accounts for two-thirds of external financing. If it is well managed, it facilitates access for the poorest populations to essential services, such as health and education, it contributes to reducing inequalities, and strengthens the capacities of States to meet the needs of their citizens.</p><p>[1] Indeed, <a href="https://www.oecd.org/dac/DAC-HLM-Communique-2016.pdf" rel="nofollow">in its communiqué of February 2016</a>, the OECD DAC stated: “We recognize the importance of strengthening private sector engagement in development and wish to encourage the use of ODA to mobilize additional private sector resources for development.”</p><p><em>This entry posted by Julie Seghers (<a href="twitter.com/JulieSeghers" rel="nofollow">@JulieSeghers</a>), Responsible for Oxfam’s advocacy towards the OECD, on 19 April 2017. Originally published by <a href="https://goo.gl/fJpBQ3" rel="nofollow">Ideas for Development</a>, a blog coordinated by the French Development Agency.”</em></p><p><em>Photos:<br></em></p><ul><li><em>Martha Nyandit waits for an Oxfam/WFP food delivery, Mingkaman camp, South Sudan. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam, April 2014</em></li><li><em>A meeting at the OECD Conference Center in Paris. Credit: OECD/Andrew Wheeler</em></li><li><em>People from Somalia, Sudan and Morocco and elsewhere arriving at the military port of Lampedusa, Sicily. Credit: Italian Coast Guard, Nov 2015</em></li></ul><p></p><p></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Can official development assistance be reformed to help the poorest countries?</h2></div> Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:27:40 +0000 Guest Blogger 81022 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-04-21-can-official-development-assistance-be-reformed-help-poorest-countries#comments Helping women migrants regain their sense of dignity http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-01-27-helping-women-migrants-regain-dignity <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>In response to freezing winter conditions in Greece, Oxfam and our partners have moved hundreds of people from inadequate sites to safe and dignified accommodation.</strong></p> <p>Entering one of the hotels, I was not sure what I would encounter. Sadia* was the first person I met at the entrance but I didn’t immediately recognize her. I was on leave from Oxfam’s team only for some days but this is not an excuse to forget people - specifically, people with whom you are so connected with, after so many months of everyday contact.</p> <p>In response to the heavy winter conditions in Epirus, Greece, Oxfam helped move over 300 people from inadequate sites to dignified accommodation, including hotels, with the support of the Greek Government and the funding of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (<a href="http://ec.europa.eu/echo/" rel="nofollow">ECHO</a>). Sadia was among them.</p> <h3>Overcoming a horrific journey</h3> <p>Though she approached me with such a big smile and ease about her, it was only after some minutes that I realized who she was.</p> <p>The same woman who I had met some days earlier struggling to keep calm in the dark and rain in the refugee camp, where she spent more than eight difficult months in precarious conditions.</p> <p>The same woman who looked on helplessly while the men in the camp were arguing over the relocation of tents and containers, trying to force her and her children to move towards the back of the “Afghan block”, in one of the less lighted areas, away from the bathrooms.</p> <p><img alt="Oxfam moved hundreds of people from inadequate sites to safe and dignified accommodation, Epirus, Greece. Photo: Angelos Sioulas/Oxfam" title="Oxfam moved hundreds of people from inadequate sites to safe and dignified accommodation, Epirus, Greece. Photo: Angelos Sioulas/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/dignified-accommodation-1240.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Oxfam moved hundreds of people from inadequate sites to safe and dignified accommodation, Epirus, Greece. Photo: Angelos Sioulas/Oxfam</em></p> <p><strong>When we met at the hotel where Sadia had been hosted</strong> over the last several weeks, she didn’t need to tell me how she was doing. I could tell just by looking at her face that she had regained her sense of dignity by living in better conditions. It had brought back some of her youthfulness that she had lost over the last several months.</p> <p>I know that the last year of her life had been full of so many horrifying events: her journey from her country of origin Afghanistan through Iran and Turkey, mainly on foot and then across the Mediterranean Sea on a plastic life raft, nearly drowning along the way; the cold and wet winter nights living in a tent with her family; the tensions in the camp due to the poor living conditions and the frustration of others around her as they wait month after month for the results of their asylum cases.</p> <h3>Hope for the future</h3> <p>Although I am certain that Sadia is still anxious about her future and that of her family’s as they continue to wait on their asylum case, I am certain - by the way she carries herself now -  that she is in a better place both physically and emotionally. It is incredible the difference that can be seen in her: she looks years younger, all from having access to the most basic things: a warm bed, a toilet, a shower, and a lock on her door.</p> <p><strong>These small things that we take for granted in our everyday lives have completely altered Sadia's outlook and encourage her to be strong for the next steps in her life.</strong></p> <p><em>Note: Oxfam in Greece advocates for out-of-site accommodation. We welcome the achievement of the Government of Greece to improve living conditions by supporting the move to hotels during the winter months and we applaud <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/echo/" rel="nofollow">ECHO</a>’s support for funding out-of-site accommodation. In parallel, we call on them to pursue this further, permanently and for all migrants, including refugees, irrespective of nationality.</em></p> <p><em>Since January 2015 more than one million women and men fleeing war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty entered or passed through Greece in search of safety and a better life in Europe. We started our operations in Greece in October 2015 as the humanitarian situation for people arriving irregularly from Turkey rapidly worsened, providing clean water, sanitation, food and non-food items. Working with partners, we are currently providing humanitarian assistance in Athens, Lesbos and the Epirus region of North-West Greece.</em></p> <p><em>*Name changed to protect identity.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <ul><li><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/refugee-and-migrant-crisis/greece" rel="nofollow">Learn more about Oxfam's humanitarian response in Greece</a></strong></li> <li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/refugee-and-migrant-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate to Oxfam's refugee/migrant crisis response</strong></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/OxfamInGreece/" rel="nofollow"><strong>See more photos of Oxfam in Greece's work on Facebook</strong></a></li> </ul><p><img alt="Mitra Jalali" title="Mitra Jalali" height="220" width="220" style="float: left; width: 220px; height: 220px; margin: 10px;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/mitra-jalali-220.jpg" /><em>The entry posted by Mitra Jalali, Community Engagement Officer/Protection Focal Point, Oxfam in Greece, on 27 January 2017.</em></p> <p><em>Photos by Angelos Sioulas/Oxfam:</em></p> <p><em>(Top) Women feel safe and are happy to cooperate with the community engagement team in Greece. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Helping women migrants regain their sense of dignity</h2></div> Fri, 27 Jan 2017 16:04:51 +0000 Guest Blogger 80459 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-01-27-helping-women-migrants-regain-dignity#comments Stand As One with those forced to flee http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-06-20-stand-one-those-forced-flee <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>This entry posted by Renata Rendón, Advocacy &amp; Policy Lead, Oxfam Greece Mission, on World Refugee Day, 20 June 2016.</em></p> <p>More than 65 million people worldwide have been forced to flee violence, conflict and persecution. <a href="http://oxf.am/ZBsN" rel="nofollow"><strong>Call on your government</strong></a> to protect and welcome people searching for safety.</p> <h3>What’s happening?</h3> <p>The number of people forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence or persecution is at its highest level since World War II. The <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>conflict in Syria</strong></a> has been a major factor in the rise, but people have also fled conflicts in South Sudan, Burundi, Iraq and Central African Republic.</p> <p>The responsibility for providing refugees with shelter, food and health care as well as jobs and education is falling disproportionately on poorer countries, which are often struggling to meet the needs of their own people.</p> <p>This all puts some of the most vulnerable people in the world in dangerous and frightening situations. Worldwide, more than 5,400 people lost their lives during 2015 making treacherous journeys to reach a safe haven while at least 2,776 people have had lost their lives Families are routinely separated, with parents often unable to find their children. Many have left possessions and documents behind, fleeing with just the clothes they were wearing. Some find themselves living in overcrowded shelters, where conditions can lead to infections and disease.</p> <p><img alt="Children in Zaatari camp, Jordan. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam" title="Children in Zaatari camp, Jordan. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/82677lpr-children-1240x680.jpg" /></p> <h3>How can the international community help fix this?</h3> <p>In 2015, the five wealthiest countries gave $1.9bn in aid to the UNHCR to help refugees. Such aid is vital as it provides refugees with essential shelter, food, water and other support.</p> <p>But providing aid cannot absolve rich countries from their moral and legal responsibilities to welcome more refugees. Aid should not be used by governments to put pressure on developing countries to host refugees and stop people from moving.</p> <p>World leaders must heed messages of solidarity and support, as they plan to meet in just under 100 days’ time at two important summits in New York. On 19 September, UN Member States will come together for the first<a href="http://www.un.org/pga/70/2016/03/23/united-nations-summit-on-refugees-and-migrants/" rel="nofollow"><strong> UN Summit for Large Movements on Refugees and Migrants</strong></a>. The following day, US President Barack Obama is inviting all world leaders to tackle the refugee crisis. World leaders must not miss these opportunities to help millions of people forced to flee.</p> <p><strong>Ahead of the summits, Oxfam is demanding that:</strong></p> <ul><li>All countries must uphold the fundamental human rights of all people on the move and uphold and implement the principles and standards of the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol</li> <li>Rich countries must welcome many more people seeking refuge and asylum</li> <li>All refugee-hosting countries must  provide a dignified future – including the right to work and education – to everyone trapped in long-term displacement</li> <li>Rich countries must give more help to the developing countries who host the vast majority of refugees and displaced people.</li> </ul><p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZBsN" rel="nofollow"><strong>Tell your government to #StandAsOne with the millions of people forced to flee.</strong></a></p> <h3>What’s Oxfam doing to help?</h3> <p>Oxfam is working in over 20 countries around the world, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/refugee-and-migrant-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>helping people who have fled</strong></a> because of violence or conflict. This includes bringing safe water to people in bombarded areas in Syria, providing food in South Sudan, and water and sanitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Yemen. In <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/refugee-and-migrant-crisis/stranded-greece-long-refugee-road-nowhere" rel="nofollow"><strong>Greece</strong></a>, Italy, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, Oxfam is providing food and clean water and building much-needed toilets to prevent the spread of disease, and making sure people have the information they need to stay safe and obtain access to legal aid.</p> <h3>What can YOU do?</h3> <p>To save and protect lives, governments worldwide must act together and responsibly.</p> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZBsN" rel="nofollow"><strong>Sign the global petition</strong></a> calling on governments to guarantee safety, protection and dignity to people forced to flee. We’ll hand it to world leaders meeting at the twin summits in September.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Renata Rendón, Advocacy &amp; Policy Lead, Oxfam Greece Mission, on 20 June 2016.</em></p> <p><em>Photo top: Beatrice, 23 collects water from an Oxfam water pump in Nyarugusu refugee camp. Photo: Amy Christian/Oxfam, 22 March 2016</em></p> <p><em>Photo middle: Children in Zaatari camp, Jordan. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam</em></p> <p><img alt="We see people, not refugee. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" title="We see people, not refugee. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" height="683" width="1024" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/we-see-people-not-refugees-boat.jpg" /></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Stand As One with those forced to flee</h2></div> Mon, 20 Jun 2016 15:56:18 +0000 Guest Blogger 51133 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-06-20-stand-one-those-forced-flee#comments Global migration crisis: A time for solidarity http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-09-05-global-migration-crisis-time-solidarity <div class="field field-name-body"><p>There are stirrings of a popular backlash against the negligence shown by many European governments toward the thousands of desperate people who have fled their homes. It seems to have taken the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees" rel="nofollow">devastating photograph</a> this week of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi on a Turkish beach where his body was washed ashore.</p> <p>Thousands of women, children and men have died en route to Europe this year, 2015. Last week, over 100 people drowned when a boat capsized soon after departing the Libyan coast, while in Austria 71 bodies were found in a lorry.</p> <p>It is scandalous and unacceptable that it took so long and so many deaths for a wake-up call. Underpinning this negligence is a created sense of fear – what will these migrants bring to our communities? Who are these ‘other’ people? There are energetic but misplaced sentiments about fence building, repatriation and the economics of migration.</p> <p><strong>My over-riding feeling is one of humanity remembered.</strong></p> <p>In 1978, I ran away from the brutal dictatorship of Idi Amin in Uganda, via Kenya, to the United Kingdom. My family and I chose Britain knowing then – as I do now – that this was a country with a door open to people like me. As I arrived in the UK, this black, 18-year old African refugee girl was not deported. I got the chance to stay.</p> <p>This was a European country where I safely had a chance to fulfil my potential. I studied at the University of Manchester and, years later, have been brought full circle back to the UK to serve this great movement – started in the UK – called Oxfam.</p> <p>My story may have turned out very differently if a door to a safe haven was closed to me forty years ago. That memory quickly turns now into a calling.</p> <p>Today, we are in the midst of a global and complex displacement crisis. To view this global crisis solely through the lens of Europe is to miss the bigger picture. The UN says 59.5 million people fled from their homes at the end of 2014, an increase of 59% from a decade ago and the highest number since World War II. The majority of displaced people are as young as, or younger than I was when I fled Uganda for the UK.</p> <h3>Investing in solutions</h3> <p>Oxfam is well-placed to connect the dots between the sources and the destinations of displaced people. This helps us understand the reasons for displacement and to <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-09-04-migration-solution-humanitarian-solution">strive for solutions</a>. We witness the terrible human suffering that every day forces people into exile. We know this well because we work in nine of the <a href="http://unhcr.org/556725e69.html" rel="nofollow">highest ten source</a> countries for refugees.</p> <p>It is clear to us that the broken politics of conflict weigh most heavily in forcing migration. The <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/5592bd059.html" rel="nofollow">UN found recently</a> that the majority of people arriving in Europe by sea were fleeing from war, conflict or persecution, half of them from Syria and Afghanistan. Yet, conflict is preventable. Critical questions must be asked of international political leaders who are initiating or prolonging these conflicts, but are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their humanitarian consequences.</p> <p>Secondly, funding is central to meeting the day-to-day needs of those who have fled. In the short-term this means aid for desperately underfunded refugee programs; as I write this, <a href="https://fts.unocha.org/pageloader.aspx?page=special-syriancrisis" rel="nofollow">only 32% of total funding to the Syrian crisis</a> has been met, for instance. In the long-term it crucially means investing in lasting development that tackles the root causes of conflict, inequality, poverty and climate change, rather than building more fences and walls.</p> <p><strong>Balance is integral</strong> – poorer countries are currently bearing the brunt by hosting 86% of the world’s refugees. This puts Europe’s dilemmas into sharp context. Europe’s infrastructure is not at risk of falling apart because 340,000 people have sought haven here this year – they represent only around one half of one per cent of the EU population of 500 million. While Europe squabbled over the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32719014" rel="nofollow">resettlement of 20,000 refugees</a> earlier this year, Turkey singlehandedly was hosting well over one and a half million. In Lebanon a quarter of the population are now refugees, taking the country’s infrastructure and socio-economic fabric to breaking point. This is why <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/syria-crisis-fair-share-analysis-2015" rel="nofollow">we are calling for a commitment from rich countries</a> to between them offer international protection to just five percent of Syrian refugees – approximately 200,000 people.</p> <p>People who are ‘forcibly displaced’, such as refugees, importantly take centre stage in what we are seeing now. Yet in our view this does not in any way lessen the palpable plight of economic migrants who risk their lives fleeing from poverty or inequality.</p> <h3>Respect for life</h3> <p>EU migration policy must place saving lives and protecting people as its first priority – regardless of where they have come from and why. The <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/31/italy-sea-mission-thousands-risk" rel="nofollow">warnings</a> of the potential consequences of closing the <a href="http://marenostrumproject.eu/" rel="nofollow">Mare Nostrum program</a> initially went unheeded; after an estimated 800 people drowned in April 2015, the EU reacted by tripling its resources in the Mediterranean and more than 50,000 lives have since been saved as a result.</p> <p>This underlines the effectiveness and need for such operations. We believe that Europe has a responsibility to ensure that the basic humanitarian needs of migrants – including refugees – are met and their rights respected.</p> <p>What troubles me most, however, is an anti-migrant language that seems to place a hierarchy on the value of human life, leaving migrants as unequal bystanders. Something terrible is happening when political leaders and the media are able to drip disdain on unspeakable human suffering. Without this sense of common humanity, it is no wonder that policy interventions are so hollow. At Oxfam, we believe without blemish, that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/our-commitment-human-rights" rel="nofollow">all human lives are of equal value</a> and full of potential. A human life crossing the Mediterranean or through the Balkans carries no less value than a human life does in the wake of an earthquake or war.</p> <h3>Time for solidarity</h3> <p>We believe this is a time for solidarity with migrants. Our main call is to people and to civil society everywhere to join us in humanising the voices of migrants around the world and restore our collective humanity at all levels of society. Share their human stories, promote the campaigns of humanitarian and civil society organizations, and stand firm against any suggestion that undermines the protection of human lives.</p> <p>The humanity we crave, I know from my own story, has not disappeared and is not out of reach; the far more tragic experiences faced by so many migrants today call for nothing less. It is right to say that we must bring peace and security to the countries which are the primary sources for migration, but to use that as an excuse to close your doors is cowardice.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, on 5 September 2015. Originally published on <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/09/faith-humanity-restored-150905114007514.html" rel="nofollow">Al Jazeera</a>.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <ul><li><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-syria" rel="nofollow">Support Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal</a></strong></li> <li><a href="http://donazioni.oxfamitalia.org/helpmigrants.html" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam Italia's Migrant Crisis Appeal </strong></a></li> </ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Global migration crisis: A time for solidarity</h2></div> Sat, 05 Sep 2015 00:18:44 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 27592 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-09-05-global-migration-crisis-time-solidarity#comments