Connect with us

News

Lack of mental health services for refugees is a global scandal -AI

Rwandan refugees

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the longstanding neglect of mental health services for refugees and migrants, Amnesty International said today. In a briefing, the organization said the international community had broken the promise, enshrined in international law, to ensure the highest attainable standard of mental health for everyone.It’s clear that the mental health of people seeking safety has never been a priority for the international community – this needs to change
Charlotte Phillips, Head of the Refugee and Migrants Rights Team
“A tiny fraction of the international health aid budget is devoted to mental health, and refugees and migrants are often cut off from even the scarce services available. It’s clear that the mental health of people seeking safety has never been a priority for the international community – this needs to change,” said Charlotte Phillips, Head of the Refugee and Migrant Rights Team at Amnesty International.

“Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, many of whom already face barriers to housing, employment and healthcare, have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis. The longstanding failure of most governments to provide adequate mental health services for refugees and migrants means they are facing the uncertainty and isolation of the pandemic without support.”

Amnesty International is calling on all governments to remove barriers that prevent refugees and migrants from accessing mental health services and support. Wealthier countries must also increase support to lower income countries, to ensure that the most marginalized people in society are receiving the support they are entitled to.

READ  S'Sudan president urges refugees to return home

Abusive policies exacerbating suffering

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained health systems at a time when social isolation, socio-economic decline and unemployment mean mental health services are needed more than ever. This affects citizens and long-term residents as well as people on the move.

However, the mental health needs of refugees, many of whom have survived terrible ordeals, can be significantly different than those of the rest of the population.

Instead of supporting the wellbeing of refugees and migrants, many of whom also face racism, hostility, poverty and unemployment in host countries, many governments have pursued abusive policies and practices which have had a well-documented harmful impact on mental health.

For example, Australia’s deliberatively punitive policy of detaining asylum seekers in Nauru led to a high incidence of suicide attempts and self-harm. In the US, Amnesty International found that family separation policies have inflicted such severe mental suffering that they amount to torture.

Lack of data illustrates neglect

There is very little recent data on the availability of mental health services for refugees and migrants. This is a problem in itself, breaching states’ obligations to monitor their compliance with the duty to provide accessible mental health services for everybody, and illustrates how severely the mental health needs of refugees and migrants have been neglected.

READ  Mexico vows to stand firm on granting asylum in Bolivia

The information that is available makes it clear that services are wholly inadequate. The vast majority (85%) of the world’s refugees live in low-or middle-income countries. The annual median per capita funding for all mental health services in these countries is deeply inadequate, ranging from USD 0.02 in low-income countries to USD 1.05 in lower-middle income countries.

The emotional impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. We call on all governments to ensure adequate mental health services are available to anyone who needs them, including refugees and migrants
Charlotte Phillips
Moreover, high-income countries are failing to support less wealthy nations in their efforts to provide mental health services to their populations. Between 2007 and 2013, only 1% of the world’s budget for international health aid was devoted to mental health. On top of this, many countries use immigration status to determine whether people can access health services, further obstructing access for refugees and migrants.

Amnesty International is calling on all governments to ensure that their health policies fully integrate refugees and migrants, whilst also ending migration policies and practices that violate human rights and cause mental distress, such as separating families and detaining children. Where lower income countries lack the resources and capacity to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health of people in their jurisdictions, wealthier states must respond and provide the necessary support.

READ  Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

“The emotional impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. We call on all governments to ensure adequate mental health services are available to anyone who needs them, including refugees and migrants,” said Charlotte Phillips.

“Any system of mental health care and treatment which excludes whole groups of society such as refugees and migrants is not fit for purpose.”

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
23 − 3 =


News

UNHCR calls on Libya to urgently develop plan for asylum seekers and refugees, welcomes authorization to restart evacuation

Libya. UNHCR provides assistance to asylum-seekers caught in crackdown

A refugee feeds her baby while waiting to receive assistance at an emergency distribution by UNHCR and partners in Tripoli, Libya.  © UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today urged the Libyan government to immediately address the dire situation of asylumseekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner. Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely  populated by refugees and asylumseekers that resulted in several deaths, thousands detained, and many homeless and destitute.

“Since the start of the security raids and arrests by the Libyan authorities in October, we have witnessed a sharp deterioration in the situation facing vulnerable asylumseekers and refugees in Tripoli,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean Situation. “The Libyan authorities must come up with a proper plan that respects their rights and identifies durable solutions.”

Some 3,000 people are currently sheltering outside the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli, where UNHCR and its partners have been providing medical assistance and other services. Their situation is very precarious. Many were affected by the raids, demolition of their homes, and have escaped from detention in terrible conditions. Others have joined the group hoping to be evacuated.

READ  Refugees to the rescue? Germany taps migrant medics to battle virus

“Many have been left homeless and lost all their belongings as a result of the security operation and are now sleeping in the cold and in a very unsafe environment. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Cochetel.

UNHCR and partners had to suspend operations at the Community Day Centre for security and safety reasons, but remain engaged in an active dialogue with representatives of the protesters outside the CDC to explain the limited assistance it can offer, including cash and food assistance.

Together with other UN agencies, UNHCR stands ready to support an urgent plan of action that could help alleviate the terrible suffering of asylumseekers and refugees in Libya. 

UNHCR continues to call on the authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of asylumseekers and refugees, stop their arbitrary arrest and release them from detention. 

The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed authorization to restart humanitarian evacuation flights, but warns that it is not enough. 

“This is a positive development for some of the most vulnerable refugees, who have been waiting anxiously for many months to depart. Our teams are already working to ensure humanitarian flights can restart as soon as possible,” said Cochetel “But we also need to be realistic: resettlement or evacuation flights will only benefit a limited number of people.”    

More than 1,000 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers are currently prioritised for humanitarian flights and awaiting their resumption. UNHCR continues to urge the international community to offer more legal pathways to safety outside Libya.

READ  IYAMIDR, Italian institution to train Nigerian youths in marine welding, others

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

Free movement of people a top priority, say West African nations

Aligned migration policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons, says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Photo: Fredrick Ejiga/IOM

Abuja – Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union.

Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

Integrated migration governance should be a key goal and Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior for Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments, said it was essential African nations addressed trafficking in persons and its devastating consequences on migrants.

READ  Refugees to the rescue? Germany taps migrant medics to battle virus

“Vile stories on international media concerning migrant slavery, as well as mistreatment of young African domestic helps in some Gulf States, call for a reflection on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this persistent problem that leads to the loss of young Africans, without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Dery said. “In Ghana, the contribution of migrants has played a great role in shaping our national development.”

Governments must address the root causes of trafficking and ensure the free movement of people in a safe, orderly and dignified manner. ECOWAS representatives emphasized the need to join forces and align approaches to prevent and counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to promote rights-based management of migration.

The meeting, which ended Thursday, also heard that policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons.

Aissata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub Saharan Africa, said the Global Compact for Migration was a landmark, multilateral document. “It aims to catalyze and boost combined support and assistance for addressing legal and humanitarian challenges of migration and foster its positive social, cultural and economic dividends within and outside the ECOWAS region.”

READ  Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

IOM has been working with all stakeholders at intergovernmental and national levels, as well as within the UN Network for Migration, to promote safe, orderly and dignified free movement of people and economic exchange among ECOWAS Member States.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

IOM steps up help on Yemen’s West Coast as clashes heighten desperation

A displaced woman and her children in a makeshift shelter on the west coast of Yemen. Photo: IOM Yemen/Rami Ibrahim

Al Makha – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has ramped up its humanitarian assistance on Yemen’s west coast where the needs of communities displaced by years of conflict are growing amid ongoing violence.

The Organization is also urging more help from donors and aid partners.

IOM’s response is focusing primarily on the two governorates of Ta’iz and Hodeidah, where active frontlines continue to cause instability and force families to flee.

Since 2017, when mass displacement in the area began, tens of thousands of people have struggled to survive in protracted displacement in hard-to-reach areas where public services and humanitarian assistance are extremely limited.

“We were displaced here four years ago and we still feel unsafe from the bullets flying overhead,” said Aziza, a mother displaced in Khoka district. “There are seven families living in my small shelter. We can’t afford medical care or school costs. We need peace and we need to go back home.”

READ  A crisis of care: Sexual and reproductive health competes for attention amid conflict and displacement in Mali

More than 17,000 displaced families are living in more than 140 displacement sites in the area, while ongoing fighting continues to provoke new waves of displacement. Most recently, clashes in eastern Al Tuhayta district have displaced more than 200 families westward to safer areas.

“As the needs of displaced communities on the west coast continue to mount, IOM is ramping up its response to thousands of people in need of urgent services, especially health care, water and sanitation, and shelter,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

“We urge donors and other partners to commit more significant investments to ease the levels of desperation facing too many people on the west coast.”

As one of the few international humanitarian organizations operating in the area, IOM is implementing lifesaving interventions in 13 displacement sites, providing shelter, clean water, latrines, cash and essential relief items to thousands of families in need.

READ  S'Sudan president urges refugees to return home

The Organization is expanding the availability of health care to affected populations by enhancing primary and child and maternal health care, addressing malnutrition, promoting mental health and psychosocial support, providing incentives to health-care workers and deploying mobile medical teams in underserved areas.

IOM is working with donors and partners to support communities on the west coast by coordinating services in displacement sites, and promoting longer-term recovery with transitional shelters, rehabilitating water networks, increasing COVID-19 testing and constructing flood risk reduction walls.

The Government of Canada has been instrumental in IOM’s scale-up of the lifesaving humanitarian response to the most immediate needs of communities – namely water, health and shelter improvement.

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2021 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve, and new situations emerge.

READ  Nigerian embassy attacked in Indonesia

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

Trending