This policy brief explores the broad spectrum of approaches to refugee settlement that include elements of community-based or private sponsorship—from the large and well-established Canadian program to smaller-scale and ad hoc initiatives in Europe. While these approaches vary widely in scope and the types of responsibilities sponsors take on, the author finds that governments and their civil-society partners generally face three common challenges when implementing them: balancing thorough program design with pressure to act quickly, providing government oversight and support without displacing willing community leaders, and cultivating strong working relationships between all parties involved. When done well, however, such programs hold the potential to foster important relationships between refugees and their neighbors and to improve integration outcomes in the long run. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Disasters no longer seem like rare events with the internet and smartphones delivering instant, compelling stories for a global audience that is curious, observant and active on social media. Experiencing disaster, then being in the public eye, can be traumatic, and so Britain’s National Health Service has issued warnings about the risks of using social media after terrorist attacks or giving personal accounts to journalists. Most odious are false reports drafted to misdirect responsibility and create an atmosphere of mistrust. Both social media and journalism have been lifelines during the recent hurricanes and earthquake in the Americas, flooding in South Asia and the flight of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar after years of mistreatment. News reports are linked with increased aid and lessons in preparation, and Humphrey Hawksley urges fellow journalists and the public to keep three factors in mind when assessing disasters: sourcing, the reporter’s role and impact of disaster coverage. “News coverage of natural disasters and war have long been pivotal at tugging heart strings and forcing changes to government policy,” he concludes. “Journalism has always been laced with vested interests and advocacy. The danger today is the immediacy in which inaccuracy speeds around the world, fueling emotions and decisions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As European policymakers and advocates increasingly express interest in developing managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many refugees undertake when searching for protection, there is a pressing need to inform the debate with reliable and comprehensive data—both on how protection seekers currently enter Europe and how new pathways are likely to be used.
Yet as this report explains, it is “nearly impossible” at present to obtain a clear picture of how protection seekers enter Europe and what legal channels are available to them. Still, while incomplete, data from EURODAC, Eurostat, Frontex, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and national databases, suggest several important trends. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Greek government policies, taken to implement the March 2016 EU-Turkey agreement, have left thousands of men, women, and children trapped on Greece’s small islands in appalling circumstances. These policies seek to end the arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants to Greece by sea, but have left thousands suffering in harsh living conditions, deprived of services and medical care, and often experiencing deteriorating mental health. A number of asylum-seekers refer to their lives confined on the Greek islands as living in a “prison.”
This report examines the impact of the EU-Turkey agreement and the practices of Greek authorities in their handling of thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants. The report is based on findings from an RI mission to the islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samos in July 2017.
Though the EU-Turkey statement does not explicitly require it, Greece has put in place a containment policy on its Aegean islands with the aim of sending people back to Turkey: as a general matter, asylum-seekers and migrants arriving on these islands are not allowed to leave for the mainland. While the law allows for some people, including those identified as vulnerable to be allowed to leave for the mainland, flaws in the system meant to identify such people results in many people falling through the cracks. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
This report explores the implications of the U.S. Global Nutrition Coordination Plan (GNCP) for the technical leadership, focus, resource stewardship, partnership strategy, and data/funding transparency of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). How can USAID contribute to the stated goal of developing “a process to gather and report interagency information on annual U.S. government nutrition resource expenditures”? And who is ultimately accountable for the actions dictated by the GNCP?
The GNCP is an impressive volunteer effort, but it is too soon to tell whether it will become a worthwhile, whole-of-government practice. Positive aspects of the plan include good timing with growing U.S. government backing for global nutrition programs and bipartisan support on Capitol Hill; a lauded, whole-of-government approach; a seat at the nutrition table for smaller agencies; a strong community of practice through complementarity of expertise and jointly shared administrative actions; increased global nutrition program support through designated points of contact at U.S. posts abroad; and built-in flexibility to expand (or contract) the plan’s mandate as global priorities evolve. This report makes recommendations in both technical and management domains to buttress GNCP’s ultimate success, which has become increasingly critical in the context of dwindling resources for development assistance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As Europe faces its largest movement of refugees and migrants since World War II, the majority of refugees and migrants are reaching its borders by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While the majority of refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by crossing the sea between Turkey and Greece in 2015 and early 2016, the main route is currently between Libya and Italy. Whether they went to Libya to work or just as a place of transit on their way to safety and protection in Europe, migrants and refugees who have spent weeks, months or years in Libya face abuses that include arbitrary detention, torture, unlawful killings, rape, forced labor, kidnapping, and even slavery. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Still, as this report points out, the challenge is manageable—if the international community is able to get its response right. This report offers key principles for closing the humanitarian-development divide and practical guidance for designing effective compacts. The authors encourage policymakers and implementers alike to carefully consider these recommendations to ensure that humanitarian and development dollars have a real impact on the lives of refugees and host communities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].