#UNHCR; #CycloneGati; #Somalia; #EastAfrica; #WorldFoodProgramme; #PRMN
UNHCR/Canadian-Media: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has rushed humanitarian assistance to thousands of people in Somalia’s Puntland region impacted by Cyclone Gati, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the east African country, UNHCR reports said.
A Syrian refugee queues up to collect her winter cash assistance at Azraq camp, Jordan. © UNHCR/Mohammad Hawari
Working with the World Food Programme and other partners, UNHCR has airlifted supplies from Mogadishu to Bosaso.
Gati made landfall on 22 November in Puntland’s Bari region, bringing around two-years of rainfall in a just a few days and affecting over 180,000 people, of which some 42,000 were displaced from their homes.
Over the last three and half decades, Somalia has experienced 15 tropical storms and cyclones together with flash floods. Extreme weather events are part of a global pattern of stronger storms caused by climate change and warmer ocean temperatures.
In Somalia, Cyclone Gati is resulting in a humanitarian emergency on top of existing emergencies in a country grappling with conflict, the coronavirus pandemic and desert locusts, making this an exceptionally difficult year for those displaced in Somalia.
UNHCR will assist 36,000 cyclone victims in the hard-hit Bari region with relief items, including mosquito nets, solar lamps, jerry cans, soap, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets and plastic sheets and /or cash transfers for emergency shelter. Our humanitarian assistance is reaching internally displaced people, refugees and members of local host communities.
This emergency response follows an appeal by the Puntland regional government requesting humanitarian assistance.
Many of those displaced by the cyclone are now returning to damaged or destroyed homes and settlements. The cyclone has also separated families, destroyed livelihoods and increased the risk of gender-based violence
The world’s vulnerable face some of the worst effects of climate change, including food, water, and land insecurity, and disrupted services necessary for human health, livelihood, settlement, and survival. Invariably, among the most affected are older people, women, children and people with disabilities.
Some 2.6 million people are currently displaced inside Somalia – mainly due to conflict, but increasingly due to climate-related shocks such as severe droughts and flooding.
The UNHCR-led Protection Return Monitoring Network (PRMN) in Somalia has recorded nearly 1.3 million new displacements so far this year, more than 70 per cent of which were driven by flooding.
#UNHCR; #GlobalForcedDisplacement; #HumanRights; #Covid19Restrictions
UNHCR/Canadian-Media: While a full picture for 2020 is yet to be established, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates that global forced displacement surpassed 80 million at mid-year, according to a report on trends in global forced displacement released today in Geneva.
UNHCR. Image credit: Twitter handle
At the beginning of this year, some 79.5 million people had been forced from their homes due to persecution, conflict, and human rights violations. This total included 45.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 29.6 million refugees and others forcibly displaced outside their country, and 4.2 million asylum seekers. Existing and new conflicts and the novel coronavirus have dramatically affected their lives in 2020.
Despite the U.N. Secretary-General’s urgent appeal in March for a global ceasefire while the world fights the pandemic, conflicts and persecution continued. Violence in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Somalia, and Yemen drove new displacements in the first half of 2020. Significant new displacement has also been registered across Africa’s Central Sahel region as civilians are subjected to brutal violence, including rape and executions .
“With forced displacement doubling in the last decade, the international community is failing to safeguard peace,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“We are now surpassing another bleak milestone that will continue to grow unless world leaders stop wars.”
For people forced to flee, COVID-19 became an additional protection and livelihoods crisis on top of the global public health emergency. The virus has disrupted every aspect of human life and severely worsened existing challenges for the forcibly displaced and stateless.
Some of the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 made it harder for refugees to reach safety. At the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April, 168 countries fully or partially closed their borders, with 90 countries making no exception for people seeking asylum. Since then, and with UNHCR’s support and expertise, 111 countries have found pragmatic solutions to ensure their asylum system is fully or partially operational while ensuring necessary measures are taken to curb the spread of the virus.
Despite such measures, new asylum applications dropped by a third compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the underlying factors leading to conflicts globally remain unaddressed.
Fewer durable solutions were found for the displaced in 2020 compared to the same period in previous years. Just 822,600 displaced people returned home, most – 635,000 – were IDPs. With 102,600 voluntary repatriations in the first half of the year, refugee returns dropped by 22 per cent compared to 2019.
Resettlement travel for refugees was on temporary hold due to the COVID-19 restrictions from March to June. Consequently, only 17,400 refugees were resettled in the first six months of 2020 according to government statistics, half the figure of 2019.
Although the actual number of stateless people remains unknown, 79 countries in the world have reported 4.2 million stateless people on their territory.
#UNHCR; #ClimateChange; #Covid19; #Refugees;
UNHCR/Canadian-Media: To fight climate change, the world must learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and act with urgency – or risk far-reaching and lethal consequences for people who are forced from their homes, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, said on Dec 2.
A man carries his belongings through a flooded road after the passing of Storm Iota, in Marcovia, Honduras November 18, 2020. © REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera
“The highest cost will be the cost of doing nothing,” Triggs said at a virtual session of UNHCR’s annual High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection. “We need to act together. Unilaterally, we simply can’t respond effectively.”
In a discussion moderated by Al Jazeera India correspondent Elizabeth Puranam, Triggs was joined by displaced, NGO, academic and government speakers to debate the effects of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable people, including those who have been forced to flee their home or are stateless. Drawing similarities with the COVID-19 pandemic, participants said the world must protect the vulnerable but also involve them in finding solutions.
“If we want to solve the problem of climate change, we have to put the most vulnerable in the centre,” said Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an activist from Chad who advocates for environmental justice and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Chad and other countries in Africa’s Sahel face one of the fastest growing displacement crises and are disproportionately exposed to the adverse effects of climate change and disasters, such as changing rain patterns contributing to floods and droughts.
The world’s vulnerable endure some of the worst effects of climate change. Rising temperatures can increase food, water, and land insecurity, while disrupting services necessary for human health, livelihood, settlement, and survival. Invariably, among the most affected are older people, women, children, people with disabilities, and indigenous peoples.
The last decade was the hottest on record. In 2019, nearly 2,000 disasters, most of them weather hazards, triggered 25 million new displacements.
Climate change has continued to accelerate while the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no vaccine, there is no mask. We cannot close the border to climate change – this is not the solution,” Ibrahim said. “So we must act … and take all the solutions from science to traditional knowledge to save our people and our planet.”
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees appointed a Special Advisor on Climate Action for strategic guidance and shaping UNHCR’s response to enhance the resilience of displaced people to climate risks and strengthen preparedness and resilience in disaster situations.
Established in 2007, the High Commissioner’s Dialogue enables the exchange of views between refugees, governments, civil society, the private sector, academics and international organizations on emerging challenges in humanitarian protection. This year’s five virtual sessions focus on the impact COVID-19 on displaced and stateless people.
#UNHCR; #Iran; #Nationality; #Chilren; #GenderGap
UNHCR/Canadian-Media: The UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s move to give nationality to thousands of children born to Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The first children, out of some 10,000 children whose citizenship applications have so far been accepted, received their long-awaited Iranian identity document – known as a ‘Shenasnameh’, last month.
According to the Government of Iran, nearly 75,000 children at risk of becoming statelessness are eligible for Iranian citizenship under a new nationality law, which was amended in 2019 to allow children under 18 years to apply for the identity documents.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, UNHCR has continued providing free remote legal advice and assistance to parents of children whose mothers are Iranian nationals and whose fathers are foreign nationals, to help them through the nationality application process.
By allowing Iranian mothers to pass their nationality to their children, the law also marks a ground-breaking step towards reducing the gender gap in Iran, where nationality used to be passed on mainly by fathers.
Although Iran is not party to the UN Conventions on Statelessness, the Government of Iran is taking steps towards the prevention and reduction of statelessness in the country. While the law does not give mothers and fathers equal rights to confer nationality to their children, it represents significant progress.
Around the world, stateless people can face a lifetime of exclusion and discrimination and are often denied access to education, health care, and job opportunities – making them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
#UNHCR; #EritreanRefugees; #Ethiopia
UNHCR/Canadian-Media: The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, appealed to Ethiopia on Tuesday for urgent access to 96,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, saying the month-long conflict in Tigray had left them without vital supplies.
At Mai Tsebri secondary school in Tigray province, northern Ethiopia, refugee children from Eritrea attend classes alongside local children. Image credit: © UNHCR/Elisabeth Arnsdorf Hasl
“With our concerns growing by the hour, we're appealing to the federal authorities of Ethiopia that access should be urgently provided to us in the Tigray region to reach the desperate people”, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists at a regular UN briefing in Geneva.
“The camps will have now run out of food supplies – making hunger and malnutrition a real danger”, he said.
“We are also alarmed at unconfirmed reports of attacks, abductions and forced recruitment at the refugee camps”, Mr. Baloch said, adding that it was not possible to verify current conditions and UNHCR had no had any contact with the Eritrean refugees since the conflict started in early November.
Ethiopia had hosted the Eritreans in four refugee camps for more than a decade, but there were now reports that the Eritreans had been displaced within Tigray region.
On Monday the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi launched an appeal for $147 million to meet the needs of more than 43,000 Ethiopians who had fled the fighting in Tigray and become refugees in neighbouring Sudan, with numbers projected to rise to 100,000 by April.
Baloch said the number of Ethiopian arrivals had reached 46,000 but the influx had slowed, with new arrivals reporting checkpoints on the Ethiopia-Sudan road and having difficulty moving around.