The word ‘refugee’ conjures up images of desolate camps and tragic, impoverished conditions. As the refugee crisis becomes increasingly pressing, concern grows about how hundreds of thousands of refugees can be housed in specialist camps and how far humanitarian aid resources will stretch. Whilst such aid plays a vital role in the short-term, the provision of aid alone cannot solve the crisis and confining refugees and asylum-seekers to camps means that they are effectively quarantined, unable to integrate into wider society. Isolating refugees in this way is damaging to both the refugees concerned and the host state, creating a cycle of dependency. The only viable way to break this cycle is to empower refugees by strengthening and enforcing the rights they have, under international law, to work within host states.
Europe is in a humanitarian crisis. We have never had so many people arrive in Europe fleeing war, repression and fear. Thousands of refugees continue to arrive at EU borders every day. More than 800’000 refugees and migrants have reached Europe so far with over 3’400 people including children having lost their lives making the journey.
As we approach the end of 2015, the year by which the UN had pledged to end poverty, it is deeply concerning to know that there are still 805 million people in the world who have inadequate food supplies, and more than 1.3 billion living in extreme poverty. With the global population set to rise by 2 billion people by 2050, world hunger is an increasingly pressing concern and the search for a solution must be a global priority. While there is no simple answer to the problem of feeding an ever-growing population, there is a great deal we can learn from studying indigenous farming methods in developing countries. Indigenous techniques may hold the key to ensuring food security and, as supporting small holder farms has been recognised as one of the quickest ways to lift over 1 billion over the poverty line, the seemingly basic techniques employed on small-scale farms warrant serious attention.
For the next three months I'm taking some personal time out of Restless Beings to volunteer in Palestine with Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA). CADFA is a grass roots organisation committed to human rights and works through establishing twinning links with Abu Dis in Palestine. CADFA promotes twinning links not as an end in itself but as an effective way to draw the human rights situation in Abu Dis to the attention of people in Camden and the wider community. During my time here I will be working with the local community centre, Al Quds University and a refugee school in Abu Dis. I have now been in Palestine for three weeks with three other volunteers; we're living and working together in a town called Abu Dis, a small suburb of East Jerusalem. Abu Dis used to be a fifteen minute drive away from East Jerusalem, home of the Dome of the Rock and the Wailing Wall, however now it takes more than an hour to get there. Why you ask- because Abu Dis has been cut off by the Apartheid Wall.
For many of us in the industrialised countries climate change is a concern of the future, leaving the least developed countries to bear the brunt of it.
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world; it lies between the Himalayas in the north and the Bay of Bengal to the south making it prone to climate change. Almost 80% live in rural areas; agriculture is the largest producing sector in the economy with more than 45% of the labour force employed in it. With its high population density and the occurrence of extreme climate events, poverty-stricken Bangladesh is no stranger to natural disasters. The biggest and the most frequent natural disasters in Bangladesh are caused by flooding which has huge "economic and human loss". Infrastructure is underdeveloped and extreme flooding makes it difficult to build modern transportation and communication networks.
Somalia witnessing an ever-expanding famine whilst the rest of the Horn of Africa continue to look to the skies for any form of precipitation.
And though all major newspapers have ceased to cover the devastating 'stories' seen in the drought regions, the crisis is still monumental and still harrowing.
According to the Guardian, approximately 12 million people are being affected by the drought, with 3.5 million people in Somalia alone requiring food assistance.
Despite the money raised – around $1.1 billion so far, $1.3 billion short of what the UN require for the Horn of Africa – and aid provided, carcasses of livestock, some 90% in certain areas of Somalia, are being piled up and disposed of; families are still travelling from the harsh regions of Bakool and Mogadishu, as well as the eastern borders of Ethiopia, by foot, to places other than what they left behind in the hopes of stumbling upon enough water to soak their lips.
Hans C Von Sponeck, the former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, worked for the United Nations for more than 30 years and in 1998 was appointed the UN Assistant Secretary General. This book not only offers us a critical, lucid and a well informed survey of political developments in Iraq, but also a heart rendering account of the suffering of the Iraqi people. He explores the UNs sanction regime against Iraq, their consequences and the domestic conditions during this period.
Rape and sexual violence against women has long been associated with the Democratic Republic of Congo, being described as the "rape capital of the world". This has been reinforced by a study by US researchers who refute rape statistics previously estimated for the Congo, declaring that figures have been grossly underestimated.
The study reveals that more than 400,000 women were raped in the Congo last year, and between 2006 and 2007, around 1,100 women were raped in the country every single day. The study was published in the American Journal of Public health and shone a questioning light on the women's organisations working in Congo. The statement that women are raped at 26 times the rate originally thought, not only reveals the magnitude of the problem, but also shows that a lot more work needs to be done to get any kind of hold on it.
Nowadays when the world 'refugee' is mentioned, we have a certain perception, a perception that does not relate to the atrocities many refugees face across the world. Many view refugees to be 'sucking our resources' not realising or understanding their plight.
In recent years, the media has helped public perception of refugees to be deemed as 'negative'. Vast majority of Britons think Britain should "not take any more asylum seekers". The EU Monitoring Centre declared UK as "one of the most refugee-phobic countries in the EU". As a consequence of public perception immigration laws in the UK and many industrialised nation have tightened.