The UN estimates that 65 million people in the world today have been displaced by violence or armed conflict. In this editorial for the BMJ, IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow, Alexander van Tulleken, M.D., explores how the refugee crisis presents a paradox to healthcare providers: “Our efforts will always exacerbate the problem of ‘the camp’: the better the services are in a camp, the more people it attracts, reducing the pressure on other states to accept refugees for longer term resettlement.” He suggests healthcare workers find the balance between meeting immediate medical needs, while resisting becoming the mechanism by which the mass containment of people is justified.
Category Archives: Resources
Upon request of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Principals, the World Bank agreed to coordinate a process of reviewing key issues and options for significantly scaling up the use of multipurpose cash transfers (MPCTs; including digital cash and vouchers) in the humanitarian space. The Strategic Note document, “Cash Transfers in Humanitarian Contexts,” lays out the main findings and options emerging from the process. The main text is complemented by a set of seven appendixes, detailing the process and feedback received, as well as presenting a thorough review of the evidence and evidence gaps in the comparative effectiveness of cash and in-kind programs across humanitarian objectives. This note synthesizes main issues and findings from the process, including defining overarching issues (section 2), setting out the overall context in which a wider use of cash should be considered (section 3), and identifying the specific areas to help unleash a wider use of cash transfers when and where appropriate (section 4).
The comprehensive training package on the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in forced displacement, developed jointly with International Organization for Migration IOM, covers a wide variety of topics, including terminology, international law, communication, operational protection, conducting interviews, durable solutions, health, and refugee status determination, all with a focus on practical guidance for UNHCR and partner organizations. Through a series of field tests undertaken in 2015, UNHCR staff from around the world have helped to refine these materials to ensure that they are operationally relevant globally. All modules include a facilitation guide, participant workbook, and presentation, which can be downloaded. In addition to the main modules, short versions of the foundation topics, including a webinar that allows staff members to do basic self-study, are part of the training package. The training package includes general and module-specific guidance for facilitators, as well as other training aides, to promote the use of these materials in the field.
UNHCR Resource Update: The Global Report “Protecting Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities”
This is the UNHCR’s first global overview of progress made in protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and inter-sex (LGBTI) asylum-seekers, refugees, and others of concern. The report is a significant contribution to UNHCR’s efforts to fill the information gap about the situation of LGBTI persons of concern to the Office, and it offers a blueprint for UNHCR to bolster LGBTI-inclusive protection programming. The key findings presented in the report are derived from an extensive review of protection activities undertaken by 106 UNHCR operations around the world, covering the following thematic areas: legal, cultural, and social context; identification and outreach activities; asylum and displacement conditions; refugee status determination and durable solutions; training on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity; and, operational guidelines and advocacy efforts. The report identifies strengths and gaps in the protection of LGBTI persons of concern to UNHCR and concludes by proposing a way forward, which may be of broad interest to a diverse group of stakeholders, including UNHCR staff, other agencies of the United Nations, and governmental and non-governmental partners. Among the conclusions of the report, the following emerge as particularly critical areas for future attention both by UNHCR staff and other relevant stakeholders:
a. Train UNHCR and partner staff on sexual orientation and gender identity and the particular protection risks that displaced LGBTI people face, and specific means to address them.
b. Promote the creation of “safe spaces”, where persons of concern feel supported to express their sexual orientation and gender identity.
c. Develop partnerships with national and international LGBTI organisations and networks and with LGBTI people from refugee and host communities.
d. Explore possibilities for systematic data collection on asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
e. Establish systems for identifying LGBTI refugees in need of resettlement, and ensure that LGBTI refugees are included in discussions with resettlement countries.
The community-based protection online community of practice facilitates peer learning and the exchange of experience between humanitarian and protection actors around the world. The community of practice brings together resources from UNHCR and other community-based protection actors, including tools, guidelines, videos, training material and examples of successful field practices. Specific thematic areas include age, gender and diversity, accountability to affected populations, and persons with specific needs. On the community of practice you will also find the first two issues of the new “Community-Based Protection in Action” series of thematic briefs, which aim to support the operationalization of community-based protection. The first two briefs cover the following topics: community centres and community-based outreach outside of camps. The community of practice is public and its resources are available to anyone interested in community-based protection. However, to truly make this a vibrant platform for peer learning and information sharing, the platform has been made available for anyone to upload material, share experiences, leave comments, and interact with other members. To do so, the sign up is possible here.
Christophe Lobry-Boulanger from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) spoke at Fordham on Thursday, March 31, 2016 as part of IIHA’s Spring Event Series “Challenges & Opportunities: Global Migration in the 21st Century”. You can read more about his presentation on our blog.
Mr. Lobry-Boulanger has recommended the following reading for those that are interested in continuing the conversation:
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Risk Management Toolkit builds on the 2013 NRC/OCHA Study on the Impact of Donor Counterterrorism Measures on Principled Humanitarian Action, commissioned at the IASC’s request. The study found that donor counterterrorism measures can have a negative impact on humanitarian action such as restricting funding, stalling project implementation, and leading to an increased climate of self-censorship by humanitarian actors. The toolkit provides examples of practical steps that humanitarian organizations can take, and are already taking, to strengthen risk management in relation to counterterrorism measures through an approach underpinned by humanitarian principles. It focuses on five areas where NGOs and UN agencies may be able to strengthen organizational risk management procedures. These are: codes of conduct and counterterrorism policies; due diligence measures; human resource policies; anti-diversion policies; and monitoring and evaluation procedures. Negotiation and review of counterterrorism clauses in partnership agreements, a typical area of concern for humanitarian organizations, are also included. Primarily directed at decision-makers with operational and risk management responsibilities and policy makers, we hope this toolkit will be a timely and useful resource for colleagues in both the field and headquarters. The toolkit is an inter-agency effort and was developed in collaboration with IASC colleagues. Substantial contributions were made by NGOs, UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and some governments.
(Brief adapted from introductory letter by Jan Egeland, NRC Secretary General)
“Other crises where local people have taken the lead include the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Nepal earthquakes this year, IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy (IDHA Honoris Causa Recipient) wrote in a foreword to the annual report.”
Local responders are effective not just because they are there when a disaster hits, but because they know how things work and can identify the causes of problems, he added.
“They are uniquely placed to find solutions that reduce underlying risks because of their understanding of local contexts – of weather patterns, of community leaders, of vulnerabilities and of sources of strength,” he wrote.
“That expertise can be harnessed to make communities more resilient to future threats, ” he said.
For more information, view the World Disasters Report 2015 (IFRC).
The 2015 State of the Humanitarian System (SOHS) report looks back at humanitarian assistance over the last three years and asks: How well is it performing?
Every three years ALNAP releases the SOHS to assess the performance of international humanitarian assistance. It does this by defining key criteria for evaluating system performance and progress. Commissioned by ALNAP and authored by Humanitarian Outcomes, the report offers a comprehensive picture of the shape and size of the system and insights into the ‘bigger picture’ of trends and performance in the sector. It incorporates perspectives from those who receive aid, as well as practitioners from across the globe and at all levels of seniority.
Read the report to find out how humanitarian system has been performing in the wake of an unprecedented level of crisis.
International organizations often go to great lengths to show that they are promoting transparency and good governance in the countries in which they work, but how much do we really know about where and how emergency aid money is spent? In partnership with Local2Global Protection, IRIN takes a serious look at the size, flows, data and power structures of the humanitarian economy. IRIN identifies the “humanitarian one percent,” and examines the complex subcontracting arrangements and the quality and quantity of available data. It’s messy, complex, and shows a system badly in need of reform. Read the full IRIN report here.