Today [Monday 20th June 2016] the UNHCR have released new data on the numbers of migrants and refugees around the world. Responding to the statistics, Mike Noyes, Head of Humanitarian Response at ActionAid, says:
“Brutal conflict, soaring inequality, natural disasters and climate change around the world has driven the number of migrants and refugees to its highest levels ever. In the last year alone, the number of refugees in the world has increased by almost 6 million people, the majority coming from the world’s poorest countries.
Children now make up half of the world’s refugees with over 32 million children – more than three times the number of children enrolled in schools across the UK – having fled their homes. A significant number of whom forced to travel alone leaving them exposed and vulnerable.
“In Europe, Greece has become the epicentre of the refugee crisis, where over 50,000 refugees are currently trapped in detention centres, abandoned buildings and makeshift camps across the country. This rising chaos means more than ever before women and children are at risk of exploitation and abuse as they are pushed into ever more precarious situations.
“This is a crisis that is not going away. Yet instead of protecting people fleeing from war some politicians are demonising them while most of Europe has closed its borders and passed agreements with repressive regimes to outsource its border control. The disgraceful and discredited, and potentially illegal, EU-Turkey refugee deal falls far short of the standards set when European leaders drafted the 1951 Refugee Convention in the wake of World War II. Governments across the world are referring to it to send back refugees to countries where they risk persecution, torture and war.
“On World Refugee Day, Governments must put the voices of refugees at the heart of their response. ActionAid is calling on world leaders to seek a new global settlement on refugees and migration. A new deal must uphold agreed international legal protections for refugees, address the underlying causes of forced migration and recognise the central role of women in responding to humanitarian crises.”
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