Nigerian, Chadian and Sudanese families collect their luggage after an 18-hour boat trip that transported them from the war-torn city of Misrata to Benghazi, Libya, 23 May 2011. The boat, organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), transported some 600 passengers mainly from Niger, Chad, Egypt and Tunisia. The boat also carried refugees and asylum-seekers from Iraq and Sudan. Thousands of people still remain displaced in eastern Libya as a result of the conflict that erupted in mid-February between government and opposition forces. Most are staying with host families, in empty buildings or schools. Other people of concern to UNHCR, such as refugees and asylum-seekers, have fled conflict areas such as Misrata by boat to safer locations. They are now hoping to return to their homes in Libya, be resettled to a third country, or to return to their countries of origin. UNHCR’s Helene Caux has photographed the plight of internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees and migrants in Misrata, Benghazi and Tobruk.

Source: Amnesty International NZ – World leaders’ neglect of refugees condemns millions to a life of misery and thousands to death

Displacement in Libya © UNHCR / H. Caux
Displacement in Libya© UNHCR / H. Caux

Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand and other world leaders to address the global refugee crisis ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20.

There are currently more people who have had to flee their homes due to war and human rights abuses than at any other time since World War ll.

New Zealand will soon take on the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council. “Having campaigned for a seat at the top UN table promising to be a principled player on the world stage, it’s time to show leadership on an issue where New Zealand is sadly lagging behind the rest of the world especially on the number of refugees we accept annually,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director at Amnesty International New Zealand.

World leaders are condemning millions of refugees to an unbearable existence and thousands to death by failing to provide essential humanitarian protection, said Amnesty International as it published a new briefing in Beirut today.

The Global Refugee Crisis: A conspiracy of neglect explores the startling suffering of millions of refugees, from Lebanon to Malaysia, the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and calls for a radical change in the way the world deals with refugees.

“We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s global Secretary General.

Amnesty International is setting out a proposal to reinvigorate the system for refugee protection and urging states to make firm commitments to live up to their individual legal obligations and renew their commitment to international responsibility-sharing. Amongst the actions Amnesty International is urging governments to take are:

·  A commitment to collectively resettle the one million refugees who currently need resettlement over the next four years.

·  To establish a global refugee fund that will fulfil all UN humanitarian appeals for refugee crises and provide financial support to countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

·  The global ratification of the UN Refugee Convention.

·  To develop fair domestic systems to assess refugee claims and guarantee that refugees have access to basic services such as education and healthcare.

Amnesty International is calling on the NZ government to play its role in this international effort. Despite the global crisis New Zealand has not increased its refugee quota for almost 30 years and is lagging well behind other comparable countries. It sits at 87th in the world for per capita intake of refugees.

“Doubling its annual intake of refugees would be a good place for the New Zealand Government to start”, said Grant Bayldon.

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.