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Europe faces ‘serious decision’ on refugees amid Idlib catastrophe

The situation in Idlib has been aggravated by Turkey’s military presence. The EU’s refugee policy has failed, says Till Küster, Syria coordinator of Germany’s Medico International aid organization.

DW: In Idlib province, the Syrian army and its allies are no longer fighting alone — Turkey is now involved, too. What is the current situation?

Till Küster: The situation in Idlib has been a disaster for months and there have been warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe for months, too. For almost three days, Turkey has been attacking Syrian army posts, Hezbollah militias and Afghan fighters — mainly from the air.

These attacks have been intense. Increasingly, Syrian army planes are also being shot down. This is a development we haven’t seen these past nine years.

Till Küster is Syria coordinator with Medico International

What does that mean for the civilian population?

Fear and panic were rife among the civilian population for weeks as the Syrian army moved ever closer to the megacity of Idlib. About 1 million people were forced to flee. These past days, parts of this area have been recaptured by Turkish forces. That has stopped the advance of the Syrian army. Nevertheless, not much has changed for the civilians. Now they are caught between several fronts and are trying to flee toward the region in northern Syria that Turkey has annexed in violation of international law.

Turkish forces have been supporting rebels in Idlib

What is the humanitarian situation like there?

It is disastrous because it is almost impossible to provide for all these people who showed up within a very short time. Many people have no money at all. At least 170,000 people are currently camping outdoors— sometimes in sub-zero temperatures. There are pictures of refugee families who froze to death, including many children who lost their lives to the cold.

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The situation on another border is heating up, too — the border between Turkey and Greece. Reportedly, shots were fired. What is the situation there?

Erdogan is playing a cynical game. In recent years, Turkey has repeatedly threatened not to stop refugees in Turkey but to send them on their way. Now we see pictures of buses taking refugees directly to the border with Greece or Bulgaria — not just Syrian refugees, by the way, but a lot of Afghan refugees, too. Turkey is, in fact, a transit country for almost 200,000 Afghan refugees headed to Europe. Of course, Erdogan is using the refugees for his own purposes, but at the same time, their desire to reach Europe is real.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing the EU’s border policies become more violent.  Shots are fired, the Greek coast guard tries to ram rubber dinghies or passes by the boats at a short distance to frighten the passengers. These acts are all directly aimed against human rights and the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

Greek police have been preventing migrants from crossing the border from Turkey

Would you say the EU’s refugee policies are failing?

The EU faces a serious decision. For years, Europe has disregarded the situation of millions of people, thinking it possible to simply ignore their problems. If Erdogan makes good on his threat and allows a much greater number of refugees to cross the border into the EU, the question that has been pushed away for years will become much more urgent: Do we use weapons against the refugees, use tear gas, try to sink boats? Or will we finally find a political solution that respects the refugees’ human rights and their need for protection? That is the decision the EU faces.

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What would need to happen now?

Europe’s policy of isolation has failed completely, also due to the fact that people didn’t want to or couldn’t resolve the situation in Syria. On the one hand, borders have been closed, but on the other, the Assad regime and Turkey have been given free rein. The result is now another mass exodus. It is not possible to close off borders and turn people away while at the same time ignoring the reasons for their escape over the years and even supplying weapons for a new war, for example to Turkey.

SYRIA’S IDLIB: A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER On the run

Interview: Kersten Knipp.

Till Küster coordinates Syria aid for the human rights and aid organization, Medico International

SOURCE: amp.dw.com

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Displaced Yemen children at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity  

Migrants near Budapest

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition analysis released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners is extremely concerning. With limited access to food, humanitarian services and health care, displaced children in Yemen are at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity.

Around 26 per cent of the more than 156,000 people newly displaced this year, in the areas where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has access, cited food as their main need. This is the second most cited need after shelter and housing, which 65 per cent of people reported as their main need. In areas where there are higher levels of displacement, like Al Hudaydah, Taizz, Al Dhale’e and Marib, higher levels of food needs have also been reported.

“Displaced Yemenis leave their homes with nothing and often find themselves seeking safety in locations where there are no job opportunities and barely enough services, including health care,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Chief of Mission for Yemen.

READ  Nigerian governor resettles over 1,000 IDPs after attack on his convoy

“This can leave vulnerable people without enough food to feed their families. Given that UN partners are reporting that acute malnutrition rates among children under five are the highest ever recorded in parts of Yemen, we are extremely worried about children in displaced families.”

The situation in Marib is particularly concerning given that an escalation in hostilities has displaced over 90,000 people to the city and caused a drastic shortage of services. Displaced people in Marib report food to be one of their most urgent needs. Of the displacement sites assessed by IOM in October, some reported that food shortages were a major concern for approximately 50 per cent of their residents.

In response to food insecurity, the emergency aid kits distributed under the Rapid Response Mechanism by IOM to newly displaced families include emergency food rations. IOM also carries out livelihood support activities for displaced communities to help them generate income. Most recently the Organization supported displaced women in making face masks which help their community combat the spread of COVID-19.

READ  IOM facilitates return of 116 Nigerians from Libya

IOM also operates a health centre in Al Jufainah Camp, Yemen’s largest displacement site, and multiple mobile health clinics. In addition to providing primary health care services to over 55 per cent of displaced people in Marib, IOM’s mobile health clinics provide community level access to malnutrition screening for children under the age of five and referral for treatment, in coordination with UNICEF. Given the high demand for such nutritional support, early intervention is vital to reducing avoidable morbidity and mortality among displaced children.

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Nigerians in Spain say no to genocide

Nigerians resident in Spain have kicked against bad governance and brutalitalisation of innocent citizens by security operatives in Nigeria.

They are in solidarity with the #Endsars protesters.

The #Endsars protest  started by young Nigerians to say no to brutality, impunity and gruesome killings in the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the government in the country saw security operatives using live bullets on the protesters last week, October 21, 2020.

In a statement signed by Afolabi Oloko, the Nigerians in Spain said: “In every part  of the world, including Nigeria, we believe protesting is a fundamental right of all citizenry that we can exercise whenever we deem it fit as long as it is civil and devoid of violence but such is not the case in Nigeria where the young future of the country are murdered by their very own government just because they made demands that there must be a reform to the notorious Police department and that the country be reformed in general. Have they asked for too much from a responsible and responsive government?

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“It is so disheartening that after Ten days that the youth refused to back down they resorted to killing, maiming of their own future generations just because they asked and begged for good governance and good policing. It’s a shame that young people are being killed all around the cities of Nigeria from Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Abuja, Ondo , Benin, Porthacort just to mention a few. It was horrendous seeing over seventy people being murdered at night while still protesting unarmed peacefully in Lekki area of Lagos state. They organised by switching off the street light while they carried out their evil deed against defenceless young people of the country and also took away the CCTV. The commander-in-chief of the Armed forces in person of President Muhamodu Buhari must be tried at the International court for genocide against it’s own people.

“We the compatriots far away in Spain are with our young brothers and sister on the streets saying no to bad governance as you’re in our hearts and prayers. We support you in the just cause you’re are fighting. Fighting for one’s future should not be seen as an affront to the authorities, rather they should look inward and realise that the system is rotten and should be cleansed but not killing innocent young men on the streets with Army being deployed to take lives of vibrant and resourceful, frustrated and change hungry citizens.
“Today, we came out in multitude in solidarity with our compatriots back home to say #ENDSARS! #ENDBADGOVERNANCE #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY #ENDCORUPTION #ENDTHEGENOCIDE”

READ  Oyetola silent as Osun indigene held captive in Lebanon cries for help

 

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ILO, IOM sign agreement to strengthen collaboration on migration governance

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today signed an Agreement to create a framework for cooperation and collaboration to enhance the benefits of migration for all.

The framework includes joint support for improved migration governance, capacity building and policy coherence at national, regional and global levels. Other areas of work may also be developed.

The Agreement was signed by Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, and António Vitorino, the IOM Director-General, on Friday at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Ryder said, “this Agreement seals an important alliance between our two organizations. Together, we will be stronger and more effective in both fulfilling our individual mandates and in collaborating on areas that are crucial for reshaping the world of work so that it is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a brutal impact on economies and societies. Vulnerable groups, particularly migrant workers and their families, are being disproportionately hit. There could be no better time to reinforce our partnership and combine our strengths, so that we can help countries and our constituents build back for a better future.”

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DG Vitorino said, “the agreement that we are signing today will help us further solidify our collaboration at the time when joint solutions are so much needed, with a pandemic that is hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. As we move towards post-pandemic recovery, we fully embrace the call to build a better world together, tapping into the added value of each partner. With ILO, we have much to co-create and we look forward to future cooperation within the broader UN family, with our partner governments, private sector and civil society.”

The new ILO-IOM Agreement builds on the agencies’ comparative advantages, expertise, and respective constituencies. By encouraging joint initiatives, the Agreement aims to strengthen international migration governance and boost cooperation, capacity building and joint advocacy to promote migrants’ rights and decent work opportunities.

By encouraging social dialogue, it will allow workers` and employers` organizations – who sit equally with governments in the ILO’s tripartite membership structure – to contribute to policy discussions.

READ  UNHCR, IOM call for a truly common and principled approach to European migration and asylum policies

A workplan will be developed in the next six months to push forward the collaboration at global, regional and country levels and, more importantly, facilitate the implementation of the Agreement in the field, where both agencies are working directly with affected populations.

It will seek to enhance the agencies joint contribution to their member states, UN country teams, and societies to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Agreement will also allow the ILO and IOM to strengthen support for their respective constituencies in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), and contribute to other global and regional migration policy fora and debates.

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