Deterring emigration with Foreign Aid

As waves of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean and the US Southwest border, development agencies have received a de facto mandate: to deter migration from poor countries. The European Union, for example, has pledged €3 billion in development assistance to address the “root causes” of migration from Africa. The United States has made deterring migration a centerpiece of its development assistance to Central America.

Will it work? Development aid can only deter migration if it causes specific large changes in the countries migrants come from, and those changes must cause fewer people to move.

Evidence suggests that greater youth employment may deter migration in the short term for countries that remain poor. But such deterrence is overwhelmed when sustained overall development shapes income, education, aspirations, and demographic structure in ways that encourage emigration.

Emigration tends to slow and then fall as countries develop past middle-income. But most of today’s low-income countries will not approach that point for several decades at any plausible rate of growth. Because successful development goes hand in hand with greater migration, aid agencies seeking to affect migration must move beyond deterrence.

[Center for Global Development study]

Climate-smart agricultural initiatives set to scale in India

India brought to light a new plan for promoting solar farming. With an allocation of USD 21.8 billion, the government plans to start building 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands, providing 1.75 million off-grid agricultural solar pumps. Through the scheme, farmers’ income levels are projected to see a sharp rise as they will be given an option to sell surplus power generated to the local power distribution companies.

Research partners first set up a solar pump irrigator’s cooperative in Dhundi Village of Gujarat in 2015, as a model of reference to be scaled for attaining multiple benefits of income growth, regularization of power, sustainable ground water use and de-dieselizing of agriculture leading to a curb in carbon dioxide emissions.

Now their efforts have come full circle with the Finance Minister of India announcing the government will take necessary measures and encourage state governments to put in place a mechanism that their surplus solar power is purchased by the distribution companies or licensees at reasonably remunerative rates.

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) as a concept envisions the creation and implementation of innovative models for attaining multiple benefits and resilience not just for the farming community but a wide range of stakeholders. The power from the sun is fetching not just economic dividends for the farmers but also helping create a sustainable business model on the whole. By early 2016, enough surplus power was sold to earn the farmers an additional income of around USD 5,300. Importantly, such initiatives put to motion the attainment of the nation’s intended nationally determined contributions towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Refugee-made products on display at the world’s biggest trade fair

For the first time ever, refugee-made products will be on display at Ambiente, the leading international consumer goods trade show, from 9-13 February 2018, in Frankfurt, Germany. Twelve product lines created by refugee artisans and craft people from Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iran, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria will be presented.

This breakthrough is the result of MADE51, a new initiative by UNHCR and a global network of social enterprises to help talented makers fleeing war or persecution achieve greater self-reliance and access to the global marketplace. At Ambiente, potential buyers can view and order a variety of products, including:

  • bowls and jewelry created by Malian Tuareg refugees
  • cashmere throws, embroidered bags, block-printed scarves, lampshades and soft furnishings crafted by Syrian refugees
  • wall hangings and basketry woven by Burundian refugees
  • complex pile rugs, wool kilims and embroidered home textiles created by artisans who have returned to Afghanistan
  • scarves and bags hand-dyed by South Sudanese and Somali refugees
  • smoked bamboo lighting and embroidered jewelry made by refugees from Myanmar


The contribution of migration and displacement to urban growth

1: Are there more displaced people live in urban than rural areas? – You’d be forgiven for thinking that today the majority of displaced people live in cities. Nobody really knows whether there are more internally displaced people (IDPs) in urban than rural areas, or how long they stay there. Nor do we know what proportion of people newly displaced each year make their way to the world’s towns and cities.

2: Are urban IDPs more vulnerable than the urban poor? – It is also regularly suggested that urban IDPs face additional challenges specific to their displacement, and examples show that they are indeed at risk of exploitation and extortion. Yet, once in the city, displaced populations join the ranks of the broader urban poor and live in the same marginalized and precarious conditions.

3: Does urban displacement call for more humanitarian assistance? – Cities have attracted migrants and been sanctuaries for those displaced throughout history. Today, however, they are becoming hubs not only of opportunity but also of accumulated risk. This is particularly the case in hazard-prone regions, including parts of Africa and Asia where small and medium-sized cities are expected to experience the highest rates of urban growth in the coming years.

What role can humanitarians play in such situations? It would appear that a much broader and far-reaching response may be needed to reduce poverty and improve urban systems and services.

[Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre]

China emerging as a serious player in humanitarian aid

China is becoming a bigger player in humanitarian aid and emergency relief:
– China has demonstrated a preference to respond to natural disasters — rather than “complex emergencies” — and may concentrate its funding on just one or two major crises each year, the paper shows.
– China’s foreign aid spending was channeled to 4,300 projects in 140 countries. The top five recipients for Chinese aid were Cuba, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Cameroon.
– Less than a quarter of China’s total foreign spending of $350 billion from 2000 to 2014 was comprised of official development assistance — compared to the United States, which allocated 93 percent of its spending to ODA during this time period.
-China’s diplomatic interest in countries is considered the “most important” factor in guiding its aid, according to the ODI — a connection evidenced by the fact that African countries that vote with China at the U.N. get an average increase of 86 percent in aid, as AidData shows.
– But Beijing does also look beyond political allegiances and gains when responding to some emergencies, like the Haiti earthquake in 2011, even though the Haitian government is an ally of Taiwan, as Andreas Fuchs, a senior economics researcher at Heidelberg University’s Alfred-Weber-Institute for Economics notes.
– Adds Fuch: “The purpose of China’s aid activities and aid is to win heart, it is about its reputation and of course now the changes in the U.S. administration is understood as an opportunity to increase China’s influence. It is about promoting China’s image around the world.”
– Says Xiaoqing Boynton, a senior director at the global advisory group ASG: “I think the trajectory will continue to develop and I think China will continue to grow its aid and to grow its soft power influence in Africa, and also in places like Latin America and neighboring countries,” she said. “An area I want to watch is how China really becomes more integrated in the traditional, international donor society, with governments like the U.S. and major European donors and works to improve transparency in aid.”

[Read full Devex article]

7 issues that will shape the humanitarian agenda in 2018

Highlights of an article by Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC):

Syria enters its seventh year of fighting in 2018. Hunger and disease will affect millions of people in Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Around the world people will flee conflict only to become trapped in misery, as seen in Libya. People will suffer from immediate and long-term effects of conflict and violence, as I witnessed in Central African Republic earlier this month. We believe the following seven key issues will shape the humanitarian agenda in 2018:

  1. The international community’s report card on conflict – The international community’s efforts and successes in addressing conflict will be critical in shaping the political agenda and the humanitarian response in 2018. The international community must offer a fresh perspective for peace – in high-profile and neglected conflicts.
  2. Rebuilding urban battlefields – Fifty million people are bearing the brunt of war in cities around the world. Reconstruction is a vast challenge in populated locations and goes beyond rebuilding streets and houses to include water, sewer and electrical systems.
  3. Transforming humanitarian funding – In protracted conflicts we work on a dual timeline, conducting urgent relief and looking towards the 2030 horizon of long-term needs. Conflicts are not temporary interruptions, they are structural, socio-economic catastrophes, and funding must be allocated accordingly.
  4. International Humanitarian Law – We see violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) on the news every day. But the fact that IHL has changed wartime behavior over the decades is drastically under-reported. In 2018 we must strengthen consensus around the law as a stabilizing force.
  5. Forgotten people – Sixty-five million people have been forced to flee their homes globally, including over 40 million in their own countries, people often neglected and unable to access aid.
  6. Cyber attacks and new weapons of war – New technologies are rapidly giving rise to unprecedented methods of warfare. Innovations that yesterday were science fiction could cause catastrophe tomorrow, including nanotechnologies, combat robots, and laser weapons. Think of the humanitarian consequences of air traffic control systems, oil pipeline systems, or nuclear plants being hacked.
  7. 7. Tech for good – The Fourth Industrial Revolution does not just entail risks; it also brings solutions to humanitarian problems. For example, the ICRC is partnering with Microsoft to use facial recognition technology to help reunite families separated

What southern Africa can learn from other countries about adapting to drought

The total annual rainfall in southern Africa doesn’t seem to have changed much over the last century since measurements began. But it has become more variable: droughts and floods are more frequent than before. The region’s urban authorities, industries, farmers and other citizens will have to adapt to these conditions.

The experience of other countries may offer useful lessons. Some arid countries, Australia and Israel for example, have been forced to develop novel technologies and strategies to survive extremely dry conditions. After drought from 1997 to 2009 forced Melbourne to take drastic measures to conserve water, residents changed the way they used water – and that behavior has persisted. On average, they still use only a quarter of the water used by the average Californian.

Australia encouraged households to save water through technology and behavior. It provided rebates for residential greywater (water that is relatively clean enough to be reused e.g. from bath, sink or washing machine, in contrast to black water which is water from toilets) systems for gardening, encouraged investment in rainwater tanks and implemented water restrictions.

Israel has, over many decades, developed a centralized water management system. It has invested in continuous technological innovations, improvements in practice and development of long-term management plans. Its greatest innovation relates to irrigation. It has developed an efficient drip irrigation system that uses up to 75% less water than some other irrigation techniques.

Countries in southern Africa must also start using the water they have more efficiently.


Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals

We fixed a time frame (2030) [as to when] every citizen around the world should have functioning water and sanitation services within reach. That is at least what countries agreed on when they adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

I am convinced that by 2021 at the latest, all countries serious about the SDGs need to have strong monitoring systems in place. How else will they know what path to follow to achieve water, sanitation and hygiene services for all?

The present monitoring and evaluation systems in place in many countries are not designed to respond to the challenges around the SDGs. Take Niger, where the government thought that 69.5 percent of the population had adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services. Estimates given by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation in 2016 showed, however, that the country has provided only 18% percent of the population with basic services. This is disruptive and shocking data for officials. Officials in Niger are reflecting on how to deal with this.

If you want real change, if you want the ambition of the SDGs to really happen, then you need to have a monitoring system that properly weights the problems, defines actions accordingly and measures progress and effectiveness.  It exposes problems you thought were fixed, obstacles and bottlenecks in your country’s system you had no idea of, or you have no data to illustrate a situation. It shows that people in the city have much better access to WASH services than villagers. And it might show that, as is the case in Mali, you do not have enough trained mechanics in place to fix a tap or hand pump.

Monitoring is the backbone to achieving the SDGs. Without it, reaching the SDGs is a blind struggle.

[Juste Nansi, IRC article]

CDC anticipating a loss of 80% of its funding for international outbreak prevention work

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operational interventions were key to ending the West Africa Ebola outbreak.

About two weeks ago, an internal memo leaked from the CDC informing personnel that the center was anticipating a loss of approximately 80% of its funding for international outbreak prevention work. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported in more detail  that starting in September 2019, the CDC will narrow its focus and eliminate many of its foreign country programs.

The CDC works overseas in two different ways. It funds programming that it is implemented by international NGOs and companies that support disease surveillance and preparedness, and it works government-to-government with health agencies and departments that fight infectious disease.

The programming that CDC supports around the world does things like improve the capacity of national laboratories to diagnoses illnesses like HIV, TB, Hepatitis, and Zika. It helps countries build better national disease surveillance systems so that they can catch outbreaks early and stop them before they turn epidemic. And it builds health information systems, so data can be shared across regions, and internationally.

The government-to-government relationships are equally important. CDC’s role as the lead US government institution on epidemiology gives it unique status and credibility overseas. Their US role means that foreign counterparts recognize them as colleagues and treat them accordingly.

From October 2019, CDC will support overseas programs in only ten countries. By contract, in October 2017, CDC was operational in 124 countries. That’s a massive decrease. This 80% to CDC”s foreign operations cut may save some money in the short term, but it comes at the expense of enhanced security and possibly the health of Americans in the homeland.

[UN Dispatch]

Five cities selected to develop global water resilience framework

Cities from five continents have been selected to contribute to the development of a global framework for water resilience. The City Water Resilience Framework (CWRF), developed by Arup with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, will help cities better prepare for and respond to shocks and stresses to their water systems.

Amman, Cape Town, Mexico City, Miami, and Hull were selected because they represent the range of water challenges facing cities around the world. As part of this partnership, the project will explore each city’s specific water concerns through field research and stakeholder interviews. Data and findings will be used to establish qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure city water resilience, for use in any city, anywhere, enabling cities to diagnose challenges related to water and utilize that information to inform planning and investment decisions.

  • Amman, the capital city of Jordan with a population of 4 million, is not located near sources of water and regularly experiences drought. The city also experiences unusually heavy rains, leading to flooding in the lower-lying areas of the city.
  • Cape Town, in South Africa with a population of 3.7 million has been experiencing severe drought, due to three years of low rain fall. Officials have warned that there are fewer than 90 days left before the city’s water supply runs dry.
  • Mexico City, the largest of the cities participating, has a population of 21.3 million. The rapidly growing city is heavily reliant on underground aquifers, and is at serious risk of running out of water in the future. Mexico City is also located on land that was once a lake, making it particularly prone to flooding.
  • Greater Miami, and the Beaches, with a population of 5.9 million, is a coastal location with a high groundwater table and complex canal system, making it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.
  • Hull located in Yorkshire United Kingdom, has a population of 323,000. With 90 per cent of the city standing below the high-tide line it is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.


The mental health needs of asylum seekers

In the wake of the 2015-16 European migrant and refugee crisis, mental health has emerged as a critical issue—not only for the well-being of asylum seekers who may have experienced trauma, but for the outcomes of their protection claims and the integrity of the processing system itself.

The primary mental-health conditions affecting asylum seekers are PTSD, depression, and anxiety, while alcohol and drug addictions and somatoform disorders have also been reported.

Asylum seekers can experience trauma before, during, and after their journey to Europe. In addition to living through painful situations in their countries of origin, some face violence, detention, or even torture along the path to safety. When they arrive at their destinations, long periods spent waiting in overcrowded and often isolated reception facilities can add new stress to an already grueling experience, as can a lack of optimism about the future.

Asylum seekers reported experiencing trauma during multiple stages of the trip. At origin, the most commonly reported traumatic events by asylum seekers include combat situations, sexual assault, and having witnessed violence and death. During the journey, in debt and under the control of smugglers, many asylum seekers spend long periods in harsh conditions and may be subject to continuous threats, violence, and even torture. Persistent worries about the whereabouts and fates of their loved ones add further anguish.

A study by psychologist Martina Heeren and her coauthors in Switzerland found that trauma-related mental-health disorders are also strongly influenced by resident status: Asylum seekers were more likely to suffer from PTSD compared to those whose protection claims were recognized earlier and had been granted permanent residency. Similarly, the rate of depression among those awaiting an asylum decision was nearly twice that of recognized refugees.

[Read full Migration Policy Institute article]

Numerical estimates of how Trump plan would shape immigration

As the US Administration presses for the most extensive revision to immigration law since 1965, with the largest cuts to legal immigration since 1924 in the proposed “Securing America’s Future Act,” a new Center for Global Development (CGD) analysis quantifies for the first time how the proposed cuts would affect the ethnic, religious, and educational composition of immigration flows.

  • Hispanic and black immigrants would be roughly twice as likely to be barred by the immigration cuts as white immigrants;
  • the cuts would bar the majority of Muslim and Catholic immigrants; and
  • the cuts would substantially reduce the number of university-graduate immigrants, and would reduce average years of education among immigrants overall.

[Read full CGD article]

Humanitarian and development to ensure that drought doesn’t turn to famine

The year 2017 was momentous for Somalia, with the inauguration of a new president and parliament following a historic electoral process. However, the peaceful transition of power was soon followed by the declaration of a natural disaster in the form of a prolonged drought that sparked fears of famine. By the end of 2017, 6.2 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance and over 1 million people internally displaced.

Since the end of the 2011 famine, about $4.5 billion has been spent on emergency response to save lives. Joint efforts by the Somali Government and local and international partners in 2017 averted another famine, but indications are that the effects of the continuing drought will continue into 2018.

It was within this context that the Somali Government—with the support of the United Nations (UN), the World Bank and the European Union (EU)—carried out an assessment and frameworks to provide all development actors a blueprint for action that can decrease Somalia’s vulnerability to shock, strengthen livelihoods, and increase economic growth.

Continuing humanitarian assistance and livelihood support to Somalia is vital in 2018, paralleled by development solutions that focus on job creation, access to finance, and support to public service delivery, to ensure that drought never turns to famine again.

[World Bank]

Progress toward a malaria-free Africa has stalled

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s World Malaria Report 2017 signals that, for the first time in more than a decade, progress against malaria on the African continent, which accounts for almost 90% of the global malaria burden, has stalled.

“Malaria alone is estimated to rob the continent of US$12 billion per year in lost productivity, investment and associated health care costs. It is therefore critical that we sustain the political commitment, as articulated in our continental Agenda 2063, to eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030 through increased domestic financing, increased access to life-saving malaria interventions, as well as more robust health systems,” said H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

African leaders previously committed to eliminating malaria by 2030. And while some African countries have seen a greater than 20% increase in malaria cases and deaths since 2016, others are showing that beating malaria is possible.

High-burden countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which account for 27% and 10% of the global malaria cases, respectively, also face significant gaps in financing their malaria efforts over the next three years. Alternatively, several African countries that have stepped up their efforts, such as Senegal and Madagascar, have achieved a greater than 20% decrease in malaria cases in 2016, according to the World Malaria Report 2017.

“African countries are at greatest risk of losing the significant gains made over a decade and must renew efforts to make fighting malaria a priority. Domestic funding needs to be urgently stepped up. These investments — only a fraction of what African nations will save if we succeed in eliminating malaria — will pay off, in millions more lives saved, health systems strengthened, economies grown and the world back on track to end this disease,” said Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

[African Union]

The forgotten man: The refugee forced to flee, and then vilified in the media and politics

The humanitarian community presently faces a mammoth funding shortage for the problems it already faces, let alone being able to mitigate against new disasters, said Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the crowd gathered at Davos. “We are confronted in 2018 with a big gap between needs of people and the capacity of the international system as a whole to respond,” he said.

“Historically, migration has a positive force in societies and economies around the world,” said William Swing, the director general of the International Organization of Migration. “We need to recognize that migration is not an issue to be ‘solved.’ It is a human reality that we need to manage, humanely and responsibly.”

But that’s simply not happening in most Western countries. “People look to their leadership, and there just isn’t a lot of political courage and leadership on the issue of migration right now,” Swing said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi lamented the disillusionment seeping into the West. “Many societies and countries are becoming more and more focused on themselves,” he said. “It feels like the opposite of globalization is happening. … Everyone is talking about an interconnected world, but we will have to accept the fact that globalization is slowly losing its luster,” Modi said. “The solution to this worrisome situation against globalization is not isolation. The solution is in understanding and accepting change.”

Valter Sanches, the general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, which represents about 50 million workers in more than 140 countries, said that the chasm between rich and poor was only growing wider. And the politics of the moment don’t seem capable of breaching the gap.

[Washington Post]

World Food Programme honors UPS

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has honored David Abney, Chairman and CEO of UPS, in recognition of outstanding contributions the company and its foundation have made towards achieving Zero Hunger.

“UPS is a steadfast partner that is always quick to offer vital resources that are often in short supply during emergencies,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “UPS and its employees are true champions for Zero Hunger and great examples of what can be achieved working together with the private sector.”

Beasley presented the 2018 Hunger Hero Award to Abney at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Since 2009, UPS has provided critical in-kind support to WFP directly and as a founding member of its Logistics Emergency Teams (LET), a collaboration of global logistics and transportation companies that support the humanitarian community during emergencies.

UPS’s support to WFP has included deploying rapid response teams and calling up logistics personnel from an emergency roster to take part in coordinated responses; providing airlift services to deliver essential food and supplies to depots at the scene of a response; and providing warehouse facilities and equipment to WFP when needed. Additionally, UPS executives are often deployed to share logistics expertise to help prepare for future emergencies. UPS also provides capacity building grants to strengthen WFP’s capabilities to respond more efficiently to rapid onset and complex global crises.

In addition to the company’s in-kind resources and expertise, The UPS Foundation provides cash donations to WFP, often at the earliest moments following a natural disaster when flexible funds are needed most.


USAID announces launch of smart communities coalition with private-sector partners at Davos

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green and Mastercard Executive Vice President of Public-Private Partnerships Tara Nathan co-chaired the launch of the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC) today at the World Economic Forum in Davos. SCC will address technology challenges that refugees and host communities face, and increase their Internet connectivity, digital-payment capabilities, and energy access within refugee settlements. SCC will improve camp-management and service delivery, and help empower refugees to provide for themselves and their families.

Power Africa, a U.S. Government-led initiative coordinated by USAID, will spearhead efforts to provide energy access to refugees in a more cost-efficient manner. Within SCC, USAID’s Global Development Lab and other partners will increase Internet and mobile connectivity.

SCC’s private sector partners, such as Mastercard, will bring their payments technology and expertise to create efficiency, transparency, and accountability with new financial tools for refugees and the surrounding communities to give them a safe and secure way to access and pay for services like electricity, Internet, and school fees.

Among the non-profit SCC participants which have generously pledged their support: World Vision; Mercy Corps; Lutheran World Federation; Danish Refugee Council; and Norwegian Refugee Council.


The toll from landslides heaviest in developing countries

This month’s tragic mudslides in Montecito, California are a reminder that natural hazards lurk on the doorsteps of many U.S. homes, even in affluent communities. Similar events occur every year around the world, often inflicting much higher casualties yet rarely making front-page headlines.

Dave Petley, an earth scientist at the University of Sheffield, has calculated that landslides caused 32,322 fatalities between 2004 and 2010 – equivalent to over 4,500 deaths each year. For comparison, floods are estimated to have killed an average of roughly 7,000 people each year.

In the most destructive recorded cases of the 20th century, thousands of people died in single events. The highest numbers of fatalities from landslides occur in the mountains of Asia and Central and South America, as well as on steep islands in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. For example:
– Catastrophic debris flows from Nevado Huascarán, the highest mountain peak in Peru killed as many as 4,000 people in 1962 and another estimated 18,000-20,000 in 1970.
– During the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China’s Sichuan province, 20,000 deaths were attributed to landslides – roughly one-fourth of the total deaths from the quake.

Wherever slopes are steep, there is a chance that they will fail. Heavy rainfall or a large earthquake can destabilize precarious balances and unleash the raw power of tumbling rocks and debris. The risks increase after wildfires. They also can be exacerbated by deforestation and land use change. Earthquake-triggered landslides, while less frequent than those induced by rainfall, have been responsible for some of the greatest losses of life.

Among the reasons the effects of landslides are disproportionately severe in developing countries reflect a number of factors, including the resilience of basic infrastructure and emergency services; the availability of health care to treat people who are injured or left homeless; and patterns of development that determine where people live, and the lack of early warning systems that can alert people to imminent risks.

[Read full article]

UN launches global funding push after US aid cuts to Palestine

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today launched a global fundraising campaign to sustain resources for its education, health and other assistance programmes.

The campaign follows the announcement by the United States to withhold more than half its funding commitment to the UN agency.

“I wish to confirm to all Palestine refugees that UNRWA schools […] will remain open [and] health care, and other services will be provided. It is a huge challenge, but it is absolutely imperative,” Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said in Gaza, launching the campaign, ‘#DignityIsPriceless’.

The UN agency said the reduction in US funding could have a significant impact on the daily lives of millions of vulnerable Palestine refugees across Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

It added that basic education for 525,000 boys and girls at over 700 UNRWA schools; emergency food and cash assistance to 1.7 million Palestine refugees; access to primary health care for 3 million refugees, including pre-natal care; and dignity and human security for 5.3 million refugees, have been endangered as result of the limited funding.

[UN News Centre]

Thousands still dying at sea enroute to Europe

Though the influx of refugees and migrants has slowed, many are still embarking on dangerous journeys to Europe. Amid concerns that 160 people may have drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this week alone, the UN refugee agency have urged countries to offer more resettlement places.

Approximately 227,000 refugees are estimated to be in need of resettlement in 15 priority countries of asylum and transit along the Central Mediterranean route. Despite appealing for just 40,000 resettlement places last year, UNHCR has thus far received 13,000 offers of resettlement places.

After stories of migrants being sold at an auction and being held in horrific conditions in detention centers were revealed, both UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have helped evacuate hundreds of vulnerable refugees from Libya to Niger.

“The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity… what was an already dire situation has now turned catastrophic,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, adding that the EU’s policy of assisting the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and return migrants in the Mediterranean is “inhuman.”

“We cannot be a silent witness to modern day slavery, rape and other sexual violence, and unlawful killings in the name of managing migration and preventing desperate and traumatized people from reaching Europe’s shores,” he continued, calling for the decriminalization of irregular migration in order to help protect migrants’ human rights.

Human rights officials have also criticized the EU-Turkey deal which returns migrants who have entered the Greek islands to Turkey. Many have found that asylum seekers are also not safe in Turkey as the country does not grant asylum or refugee status to non-Europeans.