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The Action Thread Part Two


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CITIZENSHIP The refugee crisis explained in 4 questions

By Caroline Dollman|

 Dec. 22, 2015

Friday, December 18th was International Migrants Day, a day to “reaffirm our commitment to shape diverse and open societies that provide opportunities and dignity for all migrants.” 

Well, these words could not be a truer statement of what Europe needs right now. Over 1 million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe this year - thousands of miles from home, terrified, after facing ordeals worse than most people could possibly imagine. It’s the biggest movement of people in Europe since World War II and as winter begins to hit, the situation is worsening. 

While this is a huge and complex issue to resolve, it isn’t going to go away without action. So what, why and where is this happening, and what do we need to do to resolve it? 

Why is this happening?


To put it simply, because people are fleeing bullets, bombs and torture in war torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. At the moment, the vast majority are fleeing the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.

Since 2011, when a group of teenagers were arrested for spray painting anti-government graffiti on the wall of a school building, a very complicated civil war has been raging in Syria (you can read more about what’s happening in Syria here). The conflict has escalated to unimaginable levels, and the violence and human rights violations have forced 9 million Syrians out of their homes and killed over 200,000 people. While a large part of the refugee influx is due to the worsening war in Syria, there are also people desperately fleeing Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia – and numerous other countries. There has been much unhelpful rhetoric branding many of them as ‘economic migrants’ (a designation that means nations would not have to take them in) but the vast majority are fleeing situations of war, widespread conflict and insecurity or highly repressive governments. It is safe to say this is overwhelmingly a refugee crisis. 

zaatari_refugee_camp_edit.jpg__1500x630_Image: Mohamed Azakir/World Bank

Where is this happening?

Most refugees from will first flee to a neighbouring or nearby country. For those fleeing Syria this means Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. But these countries are unable to deal with the heavy influxes of people and don’t have the basic infrastructure and services to support them to lead decent and dignified lives. Without access to basics like work and education, many decide to continue on to Europe in search of a better life. Italy and Greece are the main entry points into Europe, via dangerous boat journeys. It’s estimated that over 3,000 people have died at sea this year in attempts to reach safer shores - a huge proportion of these fatalities are children.  

italy-migrants-refugees-asylum-seekers-1Image: Supplied

Once there, refugees must be registered before they can continue their onward journey. A few of them might be eligible for the EU’s new relocation scheme to move people arriving on Europe’s shores to one of Europe’s member states. But in reality, most are forced to make the journey on their own – travelling from Greece and then onwards through Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia until they reach their destination country. The journey is long, dangerous and there are inadequate services and support systems available to those making the trip. 

What is happening right now?

Right now, there’s a ton of divergence between European countries on their responsibilities and how to respond to the thousands of people in desperate need of a safe home. The UK, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Sweden are among the destination countries for these refugees, however in the recent weeks, European member states are increasing their border control (made worse by the Paris attacks), meaning the process of relocation is taking even longer, and there is growing concern that EU nations won’t be able to take in as many people as there are arriving. 

The European Council has also started to focus their discussions on curbing the flow of refugees, a new border enforcement mechanism, proposals around the detention of refugees for up to 18 months for screening purposes, and even encouraging the use of ‘force’ to make sure they are fingerprinted. The narrative and rhetoric is worrisome, and ultimately harmful to those making the journey. 


What needs to happen?

The answer to this is complex, however there are three key steps that urgently need to be addressed: 

1) Less divisive politics and more coordination. The EU needs to urgently turn its attention to the emergency situation on Europe's shores, and coordinate humanitarian assistance, especially as winter approaches. The harsh fact is that as winter worsens, people will die without adequate shelter, housing and sanitation. 

2) Member States need to keep their humanitarian obligation and accept their fair share of refugees. This is both in terms of meeting their quotas for the relocation scheme, as well as stepping up the number of those they are willing to resettle from refugee camps near conflict zones, which are already grossly overstretched. 

3) Member States also need to do more to ensure safer passages across to Europe and North America to stop the tragedy of thousands dying in the Mediterranean, including providing safe and legal routes into Europe so people don’t feel they need to make the dangerous journey to find protection. 

The world needs the EU and all member states to respond to this crisis as human beings, and not ignore the needs of the planet's most desperate people this Christmas. Erecting fences and deploying border forces will not stop those desperately fleeing for their lives and seeking a safe home. 

This Christmas, Save the Children is asking global citizens to play their part in making refugees feel at home this Christmas. Teaming up with educational publisher Pearson, they’re providing a brand new book to refugee children arriving in the UK. However, these are no ordinary books, as they’re designed for a personal touch -  which is where you come in. You can write your own personal message to a refugee child to be included in one of these books and help them feel at home in the UK. 

 Go to TAKE ACTION NOW to add your own note and make a refugee child welcome. 




Written by Caroline Dollman


Caroline is the UK Campaigns Manager for Global Poverty Project. She previously worked in the campaigns team at Save the Children, and lived in Bangalore, project managing a start up social enterprise. Outside the world of GPP, Caroline moonlights as a drummer in a band, has a crippling fear of clowns, and deeply regrets not learning how to break dance at a younger age.

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In the Chernobyl affected regions contamination of the land remains the biggest health threat. Thirty years on caesium-137 is the principal source of radiation in the zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant also known as ‘Death Valley’ or the ‘Exclusion Zone’. Caesium 137 is one of the radioactive isotopes that was distributed by the reactor explosion and it causes the greatest risk to the health of the people in the Chernobyl affected regions. It finds its way via the food chain into the human body. There is no safe dose of caesium 137 and according to Professor Yuri Bandashevsky “Any dose is an over dose of caesium 137- there should be no question about acceptable levels in the body.” But even now in 2016 levels in milk cattle meat and non-wood forest products continue to exceed the permissible content of caesium-137. The Chernobyl disaster will leave measurable radioactive contamination in a 15,000 square mile area for 300 years.

The below graph illustrates the chain reaction of radioactive particles in the environment. It demonstrates how food and land contamination can have far reaching affects it can have on the human population of contaminated areas.




Via Chernobyl Children International

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TECHNOLOGY How Internet access could help lift women and girls out of poverty


November 8 2016  | By: BENJAMIN JOURDAN
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Benjamin Jourdan, Policy Officer for Development Finance in ONE’s Johannesburg office

I followed my normal routine this morning:

8:40AM – Woke up after hitting snooze three times

8:41AM – Browsed Facebook for about 5 minutes

8:46AM – Sent an email to my boss

8:47AM – Mozied to the shower and gave an extraordinary lip-sync performance of my favorite jam

8:53AM – Dried off and Snap-chatted some rainbow-pukey face pics to my mates

8:56AM – Checked the weather

8:57AM – Downloaded the next Game of Thrones episode (It’s going to be a wild Friday night!)

8:58AM – Realized it was 8:58AM, threw on clothes, and raced to work

As I sped down the streets of Johannesburg on my trusty scooter, I reflected on how reliant I am on technology and the Internet – and how much easier it has made my life. Yes, it brings its vices, but without the Internet, I wouldn’t be able to video chat with family in the U.S., I wouldn’t have been able to apply to my current job, I wouldn’t be able to post this blog!

Where the Internet has truly been most revolutionary, however, is within the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.

These groups now have access to information and networks that help them communicate, set up businesses, and access services, allowing them and their families to lead healthier, safer and more prosperous lives.

But more than half of the world is still unconnected to the internet and where someone lives makes a huge difference. Almost 75% of Africa’s population is offline compared with 19% of people in developed countries. To put it in perspective, the amount of data I use in my normal daily routine (checking apps, streaming music, posting photos, downloading video) is more data than the average citizen living in the poorest regions of the world uses in one month.


Hit harder by this lack of connectivity are women and girls. Women living in the poorest countries are a third less likely than their male counterparts to be connected and the gap is increasing; if trends continue, in 2020 over 75% will be unconnected.

Without connecting these women and girls to the internet, barriers for women to access education, lifesaving health information, and job opportunities will continue to perpetuate dire gender inequalities in these regions.

In the Making the Connection report, ONE calls for an action plan to connect 350 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020, resulting in spin off benefits for everyone.

So Snap, Instagram, Facebook, Tweet, YouTube, and Pinterest your support to #PovertyIsSexist and sign our petition today!



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