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First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oneness Arkive Year Alpha and Year Beta

The Same Kite

Despite the diverging shapes frames and their variations
In which we come as we are formed to make our prints
Despite the coats of all that colours their shades textures
That we wear on which the genome carries on working

Geophysics the sun heat light gravity and the weather all
Sign their marks so that we change adapt go and grow
Despite our multitudinous tongues we speak in and sing
The same songs of sorrows same sonatas of wonders or joys

Despite the divergent themes dreams drives and strivings
At the core we are one one we are at the very central core
The core that cuts us to be the same kite in the heavens of

Our mother earth who sails her round blue boat lit aglow
By the sun and moon she marks her tiny sand-grain magic
Against the endless expanse of heavens where wonders sing

Munayem Mayenin: November 02:2015

At UN Event People with Downs Syndrome Speak up to Influence Government Policy and Action

A Participant of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

|| March 21: 2017 || ά.  Today, the call that people with Down Syndrome be included to fully and equally participate in all aspects of society echoed widely throughout United Nations Headquarters in New York. With a full agenda, a special event to mark World Down Syndrome Day identified and turned key issues, that affect individuals with Down syndrome into a call for inclusive policy making.

“What we need to see is a paradigm shift towards understanding, that people with Down’s syndrome have valuable contributions to make to society and until that happens there are always going to be blockages to getting into school, to getting proper medical attention and living independently.” Andrew Boyd, Director Down’s Syndrome International, told UN News. For many, prevailing negative attitudes result in low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, creating communities, that prevent people with Down Syndrome from successfully integrating with others.

In contrast, the message reverberating from today’s event underscored that  when people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities are given opportunities to participate, all people benefit from this shared environment of friendship, acceptance and respect for everyone and high expectations are created.

Those gathered for the event agreed that people with Down Syndrome and their advocates must be empowered to influence policy makers at all levels. The speakers said that these individuals may need additional support in specific areas, such as health, education, work and living accommodations, which underscored the importance for them to directly influence policy formation and implementation covering those and other issues.

The resounding chorus of ‘My Voice, My Community’ encouraged people with Down syndrome and those, who advocates for them to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action.

The special event was organised by Down Syndrome International and sponsored by UN Permanent Missions, the UN Children’s Fund:UNICEF and international agencies and non-governmental organisations.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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In Vienna, Ban Ki-moon Visits Fusion Restaurant That Exemplifies Togetherness of Refugees and Locals

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, rear centre right, and his wife Yoo Soon-taek, rear centre left, pose with the staff of the Habibi & Hawara Restaurant
in Vienna. The visit was aimed at showcasing the UN-System-Wide Campaign, Together: Respect, Safety & Dignity for All. Image: UN Photo:Eskinder Debebe

 

|| December 08: 2016 || ά. During his trip to Vienna, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today visited a restaurant where refugees work together with locals to serve Austrian-Arab fusion cuisine, using this opportunity to showcase the UN system-wide initiative to counter xenophobia launched in September. “I was very impressed, having met the master chef and chef from the Philippines and Syria. Many people, millions of people, are suffering because of the Syrian crisis. This is a good way of integrating into Austrian culture.” Mr. Ban said in his remarks at the year-old Habibi & Hawara restaurant, which is run by a team of refugees and Austrians, aiming to help refugees become independent entrepreneurs.

With millions of people on the move due to conflict, disasters and other crises, the UN chief recalled that he had launched the Together: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All campaign at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on September 19. “When refugees are coming, they are not coming with problems, they are coming with a different culture, different religion, different skills and different potential, so they can be a good mix with the Austrian and local community.” he said. “Regardless of what kind of belief and traditions, what languages you may have, you must be treated as an equal partner, an equal human being.”

 He commended the Austrian community in that regard, asking not only Austrians but all Europeans and many people who can render their support as a part of 'togetherness, the 'together’ initiative, that’s what I’m asking you.” Mr. Ban underscored. He noted that at least 16 million people are now caught in the middle of this fighting and violence in Syria.

Recalling that he has met many Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, he said, “It has been a quite heart-breaking experience for me to meet many young people, girls and boys, and old men and women, who lost completely their home and their livelihood.”

Mr. Ban has been urging world leaders, particularly in Europe, not to erect walls, but build a bridge between people, among people and between countries because those on the move have no other choice but to flee to save their lives to other foreign countries, stressing that it is unacceptable that leadership-level people and community people are showing discriminatory and xenophobic attitudes and making politically unacceptable remarks. “All these are unacceptable in the name of humanity.” he said.

“We are together. We are the same brothers and sisters. We are the same people, men and women. There is no difference at all.” he said, noting that the UN is working over the next two years toward adopting a Global Compact that will ensure that all refugees will be supported based on global responsibility-sharing principles. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Bethany from Birmingham: It Takes Time to Build Confidence

|| October 04: 2016 || ά. Bethany is 23. She was born deaf and began to lose her vision as a teenager. At college, teachers advised her to train to be a hairdresser, despite the fact that her sight was deteriorating.

I did not like college. We did the same things every day and I wanted to do more. I had to come to terms with losing my sight and learn how to live with this. I felt isolated and very insecure. When I left education I had no luck finding a job and ended up staying at home with my family.

I then found out about Sense. I started to get involved in different activities. The local authority funded communicator guide support for me. I started going out, meeting people and this built my confidence. I started to volunteer and am now looking at setting up my business. I feel positive about my future. I have started to learn how to use a long cane and can go to some places independently.

Building confidence and resilience is especially important for young deafblind people, and there are many ways to do this. Sense developed a model of short breaks, which is geared towards supporting young people to develop independent living, choice making and self-help skills, and encourage the use of assistive technology. The short break provides a natural environment to establish a baseline of skills and desired goals and outcomes. It also helps young people to expand their social networks and support each other.
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Bethany's story is provided by Sense.

Sense is a national charity that has been supporting and campaigning for children and adults who are deafblind and have complex needs for over 60 years. There are currently around 356,000 deafblind people in the UK. Sense provides specialist information, advice and services to deafblind people, their families, carers and the professionals who work with them. Sense runs services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and employ 2,000 people who work in services directly with deafblind people.

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500 People Have Now Donated a Kidney to a Stranger: And 42 Saved 33 Lives at Guys' Hospital by These Altruistic Gifts

Professor Nizam Mamode: Image: Guys and St Thomas' Hospital

|| September 24: 2016 || ά. More than 500 people have helped save the life of a stranger by becoming a living kidney donor, including 42 people who donated a kidney at Guy’s Hospital. Changes in the law a decade ago made it possible for individuals to become living donors by donating a kidney to someone they do not know and have never met. 33 people at Guy’s have had their lives saved by kidneys that have been donated by strangers, known as altruistic organ donors.

Altruistic donor Robert Wiggins, 61, from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, had his kidney removed by surgeon Professor Nizam Mamode at Guy's Hospital in 2013. Robert says: "When I first heard about altruistic kidney donation I decided to look into it a bit more. "I soon realised that I was walking around with an organ I didn't require that I could instead use to help another human being in desperate need. When I considered the inconvenience and risk to myself balanced against the chance to save a person's life, I felt compelled to become a donor.

The surgery to remove my kidney went smoothly and my recovery went well. I was out of hospital within 48 hours, walking easily in a week, and back at work in three weeks. I knew it was definitely all worthwhile when I heard my kidney had been successfully transplanted into another person. To be able to make that positive difference to somebody's life is an incredible feeling."

Robert went on to chair the charity Give a Kidney and he campaigns to raise awareness of altruistic organ donation. Professor Nizam Mamode, clinical lead for transplant surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and co-author of a major study on altruistic kidney donation, backs NHS Blood and Transplant’s call for more people to consider becoming a kidney donor.

Professor Mamode says: “The number of kidneys available for transplant is a life or death issue for patients on the waiting list. This is why it’s so crucial to raise awareness of altruistic organ donation.Living donation is highly successful, both for the donor and the recipient. Altruistic donors allow us to give kidneys to people who otherwise wouldn't have a transplant. We recently had someone who's been waiting 20 years and received an altruistic kidney donation."

Most kidney transplant patients receive an organ from a deceased donor but a shortage of deceased organ donors means many people do not receive the life-saving transplant they need.

Altruistic donors undergo several months of physical and psychological tests at their local transplant centre to ensure they are able to safely donate and to confirm which recipients would be a suitable match. Potential recipients are identified by NHS Blood and Transplant and the transplants are performed by hospital transplant units. ω.

For further information on organ donation

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In Our Common Humanity We are One: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2016: August 09

|| August 09: 2016 || ά. A Participant in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014, held at the UN Headquarters between September 22 and 23. Image: UN Photo: Yubi Hoffmann: Date: 22.09.2014: ω.  

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In Our Common Humanity We are One: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2016: August 09

The indigenous Lenca people of southwestern Honduras weaving brightly coloured fabric. Photo: UNDP Honduras: ω.  


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Our Oneness and Diversity is Our Humanity: To say 'I am' 'I' must include in that 'being that what I am' all the prospects, possibilities and potentials of that state of being and becoming and, therefore, when 'I' says: 'I am' 'I' includes or, rather, posits the entire prospects, possibilities and potentials of 'unity' and 'diversity' of that being in it. Being in Unity and being in Diversity should be seen as the Sun being where it is and yet being still the same thing in being wherever its lights, heats and energies reach. Both signify the same being: and for us, the humanity: we are one in our diversity as we are one in our oneness. The Humanion in Celebration of Our Oneness and Diversity. May 22: 2016. Readmore on Oneness and Readmore on Diversity

Humanity is at its highest and best when it is at 'home' except we simply make it our 'life's work' to ensure we are not at 'home'. Look at the World we have built! We build a nightmare and live in agony in it, bleeding away: we could chose to build a dream and live in joy, peace and harmony in it. Ask this little child and he will tell you this choice is not at all hard. He will tell you it is a simple choice.

Image: Finland Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First-ever UN Forum on Albinism in Africa to Focus on 'Less Talk, More Action'

Albinism is a common genetic disorder in Equateur. Monieka, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Image: UN Photo:Marie Frechon

 

|| June 15: 2016 || ά. The first-ever United Nations-sponsored regional forum for Action on Albinism in Africa will take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from June 17-19 to develop specific measures to tackle the attacks and discrimination faced by persons with albinism in several countries in the region. Persons with albinism in the region of Sub Saharan Africa are facing some of the most extreme forms of human rights violations.

They face physical attacks fuelled by erroneous beliefs that their body parts can be used in potions and in other witchcraft practices. A majority of victims are women and children. They also face entrenched discrimination and stigma extending to their family members particularly mothers of children with albinism. Confronted by these challenges, many civil society organisations, persons with albinism, and states wish to design new ways of dealing with the issues while adopting those that have been tested and true.

“There are a lot of specific, practical, simple and effective measures that some countries have successfully used to tackle the issues faced by persons with albinism including having a dedicated office and budget on the issue, creating a telephone hotline to report crimes and threats, regulating 'witchcraft' and traditional medicine practitioners among others,” said the United Nations independent expert on albinism, Ikponwosa Ero.

“But these ideas have to be shared as best practices and developed into a continental roadmap to successfully tackle the issue,” she added. This is why on the heels of international albinism awareness day which just concluded on June 13, over 150 people from 28 countries in the region will gather this week in Dar es Salaam to lay down a roadmap of specific measures aimed at dealing with the human rights issues faced by persons with albinism.

Half of the participants are from civil society, about 20 percent from government, 10 percent from national human rights institutions and there will also be human rights specialists from within and outside the African Union and UN as well as academics. “As the continent of Africa celebrates the decade of human rights, and the UN launches the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which pledges to leave no one behind, we have a good context in which to plant this forum,” Ms. Ero said.

“It is not going to be easy to come up with specific measures for all the issues arising out of the problems faced by persons with albinism, but the best practices of some States and civil society to date will represent a key step forward in promoting and protecting their human rights,” the expert stressed. ω.

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Please, Give Blood, If You Can, for Blood is the Physiological Statement of Our Oneness in Humanity  

|| June 14: 2016 || ά. WHO World Blood Donor Day June 14, 2016: Voluntary Unpaid Blood Donations Must Increase Rapidly to Meet 2020 Goal: WHO: Medical technicians organise and process donated blood at Hanoi Blood Transfusion Centre in Viet Nam. Image: World Bank:Dominic Chavez: ω.

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Ban Ki-moon Urges UN System to Bolster Support for Indigenous Peoples as Annual Forum Concludes

A view of participants in the General Assembly Hall during the opening ceremony of the Fifteenth Session
of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Image: UN:Rick Bajornas
 

|| May 22: 2016 || ά.  Much has been achieved to improve the rights of indigenous peoples, but conflicts on their lands and territories, and the lack of inclusion of their voices in peace processes, remain a challenge, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today at the closing of a two-week forum.

“I call on all Member States, on indigenous peoples and the entire UN system to work together to address these and other serious concerns,” said Mr. Ban in his last speech to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The Forum’s 15th session opened at UN Headquarters in New York on May 09. He recalled that in September 2007, Member States adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in 2014, the UN convened the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

Stressing that indigenous peoples are firmly on the UN agenda, and they were fully engaged in negotiations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, it is now crucial that they also participate in and contribute to implementation and follow-up.

Mr. Ban urged indigenous peoples to remain engaged and actively participate in the process initiated by the President of the General Assembly to enable their representation in meetings of relevant UN bodies.

He pledged that UN will continue to integrate the rights of indigenous peoples into international human rights and development agendas, promote the integration of their rights in policies and programmes at all levels, and, with their help, ensure that the vision of the Declaration becomes a reality.
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Hannah Grace, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama at St David Awards Ceremony 2016: Seremoni Gwobrau Dewi Sant 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diversity

Image: The Welsh Government

Our Oneness: At the core we are elementally, fundamentally and inalienably one. We are one the way a human physiology is one in which trillions of cells are connected together into an unimaginably complex 'tree of life' that form the 'person' of one human being ( that is the entire Universe in microcosm). This is the One Humanity we are in which each one of us is a 'cell' connected to the wider 'grid' of cell-humanity. Until we learn to replicate and follow the most sophisticated, most complex, most efficient and most productive human physiology as to how magnanimously it works at all times ( in most cases, in most of the times) and become like it metaphorically in which each and all cells work together in unison to achieve the 'best possible outcome' of all our endeavours: to achieve, foster, regulate, maintain and continue 'homeostasis'.

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What is a Refugee: What is a Human: An MSF In-Depth EU Migration Crisis Update

The Juma family comes from a village near Damas. They fled in 2012 and lived in a camp in Lebanon. They now live in the Eleonas camp for asylum seekers and vulnerable people. Image: Georgios Makkas

Syrian refugees are blocked at the Greek border with Macedonia (FYROM): Image: Alex Yallop/MSF

March 24, 2016: Every year, thousands of people fleeing violence, insecurity, and persecution at home attempt a treacherous journey via North Africa and across the Mediterranean to reach Europe. And every year, countless lives are lost on these journeys.

In 2015, European policies led to a dramatic worsening of the refugee crisis

2015 will be remembered as the year in which Europe catastrophically failed in its responsibility to respond to the urgent need for assistance and protection of over a million men, women and children. Not only did the European Union and European governments collectively fail to address the urgent humanitarian and medical needs of refugees and migrants arriving at external and internal EU borders, but their policies and actions actively contributed to the worsening of the so-called “refugee crisis” and the health and wellbeing of those who fled.

Europe’s restrictive policies put some of the world’s most vulnerable people in more danger, causing more suffering, as they risk it all to try to bring themselves, and their families, to safety. European countries (and transit countries) have the responsibility to ensure their policies guarantee the right to seek asylum and respect fundamental rights and human dignity.

People will continue to risk their lives in the hands of smugglers as long as there are no safe alternatives

A mother holds her crying child, as her three other daughters sit by the fire outside their makeshift tent in Idomeni, Greece. Photo: UNICEF/Tomislav Georgiev

There are very few safe channels that people can take to reach protection, safety and a better life. With Europe’s land borders sealed, people are forced into the hands of smugglers and into leaky, overcrowded boats on the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. As of 13 March, 143,205 people had arrived in Greece from Turkey by sea; this brings the total number of arrivals to the Greek islands since 1 January 2015 nearly to 1 million. The daily average of nearly 1,400 arrivals in March is nearly ten times the daily average of a year ago. Despite the short distance between the two shores, the Aegean Sea has become the most deadly route for people trying to reach Greece from Turkey. To date, more than 440 people were reported dead in the Mediterranean Sea.

Search and rescue is not a solution to the situation

Safe and legal alternatives are, but resources must be sufficiently allocated to mitigate further unnecessary loss of life

It remains European states’ responsibility and imperative to maintain and provide adequate and proactive resources to rescue lives at sea. For this, a creation of a dedicated mechanism to ensure adequate search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean, with the primary remit to save lives, is essential. In the coming months, number of arrivals will certainly increase again.

EU must ensure that an adequate search and rescue capacity is assured when the numbers will rise. Moreover, the focus of European policies on targeting smugglers, who remain a symptom of the lack of safe and legal channels, should not take precedence over the urgency of providing lifesaving assistance and appropriate humanitarian assistance for those who risk their life in search of safety and a better life.

The recent involvement of NATO ships in patrolling the Aegean Sea to intercept refugee and migrant boats is another worrying indication of the military focus of the European response, which is not adequate to address the assistance and protection needs of those fleeing for their lives.

The humanitarian consequences of border closures

Rash decisions to close borders and a lack of coordination between different European states have created incredible stress and dangerous conditions for thousands of people on the move. MSF has documented the domino effect of border closure: each time a border closes, thousands of people are abruptly halted, stranded in no man’s lands, with little to no humanitarian assistance, and ultimately, forced onto more dangerous routes or into the hands of smugglers.

Authorizing transit across the Balkans had so far been the only realistic response to the failure of the European asylum system and Greece’s inability to offer assistance and protection. In recent weeks, the decision to suddenly close the so called Balkan road, implemented without any consideration of people’s protection, medical or shelter needs, shows once again the incapacity of European and Western Balkans States to provide coherent and humane solutions to the needs of desperate people in search of protection.

Contrary to what governments claim, the construction of fences at the EU’s external borders over the past years has not lead to a decrease in the number of people trying to cross and seek protection in the European Union: it has only pushed people to take more risks by crossing the sea instead of safer land borders and has forced them to resort to a thriving smuggling business. As reception places and access to asylum procedures in Greece, the main country of entry, remain largely insufficient and below standards, the closure along the Balkan route- ring-fencing/entrapping tens of thousands of people in Greece - are of great concern to MSF. There is a deeper humanitarian crisis in the making.

European countries are only accepting a small share of the total number of displaced

Greek volunteer life-guards help a young child out of a boat that reached the shores of Lesbos, having crossed the Aegean sea from Turkey. Photo: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

Most of the world’s displaced people live elsewhere in their home countries or in the counties surrounding their home countries, relatively few are granted asylum elsewhere. For example, twelve million Syrians have been displaced by the ongoing conflict. Eight million have fled to other parts of Syria. Four million live as refugees in the countries that surround Syria – many of these countries are now overwhelmed (one in four people living in Lebanon are now Syrian refugees). Only a million people have made it to Europe – that is less than 2% of the total number of European population. It is more than time for European countries to adopt more humane and asylum policies.

Externalized border controls in transit countries and countries of origin cannot be the EU's solution to the European refugee crisis

The enforcement of migration cooperation deals between the EU and its member states with third countries is resulting in unacceptable humanitarian consequences, including high levels of violence and a sustained erosion of refugee and asylum law.

The EU-Turkey proposed deal, presented as “the” solution to the current crisis, is a perfect illustration of this dangerous approach. Unless concrete protection measures to assure equal treatment and the dignity, safety and protection of people on the move are in place, abuses of migrants and refugees will worsen with increased externalization of border control.

The urgent need for safe passage

The only way to save life and alleviate the suffering of these people is to provide them with a safe passage through:

The swift provision of safe and legal channels for people seeking asylum, in particular allowing asylum seekers to apply for asylum at external land borders, including the Evros land border between Turkey and Greece. This also includes making wider use of legal entry schemes, such as for example family reunification, humanitarian visas, simplified visa requirements, resettlement and relocation.

The creation of legal migration pathways to decrease the demand for irregular migration and smuggling networks.

The creation of an ambitious search and rescue mechanism to save lives at sea. This operation should proactively search for boats in distress as close to departure points as possible and should be accompanied by pre-identified disembarkation points where humane disembarkation procedures, including adequate reception conditions, medical care and vulnerability assessments, are in place.

Investing in reception according to EU standards instead of deterrence measures only. Europe must move away from a fortress approach to a reception approach designed to address the needs and specific vulnerabilities of people arriving at its borders, in particular their medical and mental health needs.

In the absence of a functioning common European asylum system, investing more ambitiously in intra-EU relocation schemes and the creation of safe passage through the EU.

Putting an end to acts of violence and abuse from state authorities.

What is MSF doing to help?

MSF has been working with Mediterranean migrants to Europe since the autumn of 2002, when MSF started working in Lampedusa reception centre with a programme that focuses on medical triage of asylum seekers, and has been working with people in many of the countries they flee from for even longer.

Central Mediterranean

In May 2015 MSF took the unprecedented decision to launch search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean. By the end of 2015, the Bourbon Argos, the Dignity I and the MY Phoenix had RESCUED 20,129 PEOPLE and assisted an additional 3,000 people. With the decrease in arrivals coming from Libya and the increased SAR capacity in the Central Mediterranean, MSF took the decision to put on standby its operations in the Central Mediterranean in December 2015. It remains ready to intervene should the EU and its member states fail to protect the lives of the thousands of men, women and children expected to flee North Africa for Europe in coming months.

Aegean Sea

With the number of arrivals from Turkey to Greek islands continuing to be extremely high, and the worsening of weather conditions, MSF launched rescue activities in the Aegean Sea off the island of Lesvos in collaboration with the international organisation Greenpeace.

Between 27 November 2015 and 21 February 2016, the MSF/Greenpeace Rescue operation assisted more than 17,800 people in 355 interventions. Both in the Aegean and in the Central Mediterranean, sea rescue operations are only a temporary measure to mitigate the loss of lives but they cannot represent a solution.
Additionally, MSF operates land-based migration projects in six countries:

Tunisia

MSF has been working with fishermen in Zarzis, Tunisia to offer training in search and rescue. Fishermen are often on the first line of the response when boats get into trouble near their fishing grounds and have been given material as well as training to assist them in their efforts. MSF has also provided training to the Tunisian and Libyan Red Crescents in dead body management.

Italy

In Italy, in the first three months of 2016, the total number of arrivals is more or less equivalent to the numbers of people arrived the previous years (10,164 in 2015, 9,495 in 2016). People arriving in Italy by boat are mainly from Nigeria, which has been the main country of provenience so far, Gambia, Guinea and Senegal. Due to the recent closure of the Macedonian border along the Balkan migration route, one hypothesis for the next months could be the reopening of the Albania-Apulia sea route. This change could also impact on the number of people arriving in the other southern regions, such as Sicily.

In Italy, where sea arrivals are nothing new, the reception system for newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers has been put under great strain. MSF has repeatedly highlighted the shortcomings of Italy's reception system during months of negotiations with the authorities and in a report presented to an Italian parliamentary commission last November. At the end of 2015, MSF ended its medical activities in the reception center of Pozzallo, Sicily, due to the unacceptable conditions including overcrowding and the lack of protection for vulnerable people and the impossibility for our teams to represent an added value inside an inadequate structure.

Rome: MSF launched in October 2015 a project offering medical rehabilitation to asylum seekers who have been victims of torture, in collaboration with an Italian organization (Medici contro la tortura) ), with years of experience on torture victims rehabilitation, and ASGI-Association for Law Studies on Migration, experts of legal support for migrants and asylum seekers. The main countries of origin of beneficiaries are Nigeria, Mali, Afghanistan, Ghana, Gambia and Egypt. In total, 39 people from 15 countries have received assistance in more than 340 individual consultations. A new center in the city center, which has been built in the respect of trauma-related vulnerabilities, will be ready and operational by April, 2016, and it will be able to host 30 people.

Recently, MSF decided to start an echocardiographic screening activity aimed at identifying positive cases of rheumatic heart disease within migrant population in Rome, with particular focus to specific groups of migrants living in informal sites. The project –which started one month ago- is carried out in partnership with the National Institute for the health of migrant population and the fight against poverty –related diseases (INMP) and to the Cardiology department of the Hospital of the Tor Vergata University.

Gorizia: In the Northern city of Gorizia, at the border with Slovenia, MSF is providing medical care, shelter and first assistance for the hundreds of asylum seekers who remained excluded from the institutional reception system. Since December 2015, MSF has installed 25 containers, with a capacity to offer shelter to 96 people. Reception facilities have been sufficient to respond to the totality of the local reception needs: all the available places were assigned and there was no further space left for new comers. It is a temporary solution to provide spaces where people can be welcomed with shelter, hygiene facilities and medical screening to improve their living conditions.

Since the beginning of the project, around 450 medical screenings and visits have been carried out in partnership with the IRC and the local health service. The vast majority of them travelled an average of 1 to 3 months across the Balkan route, and passed through other European countries, such as Austria, before reaching Italy. Around 9% of the asylum seekers had stigmata of traumas related to war, violence or accidents that happened in the origin country or long the migratory journey and this figure is probably underestimated.

In order to cope with patients’ needs and to provide them with legal information about asylum procedures, MSF has organised trainings with a legal actor and a specialized cultural mediator, in partnership with the national NGO Italian Council for Refugees and the legal support office from Caritas. In Udine, MSF is supporting local actors who provide shelter and medical assistance to migrants and asylum seekers. The main aim of the project is to create and implement a first reception model that would include all the legal actors, who collaborate together on the different aspects of the reception. At present, we are working with local authorities to organize the handover of the center management and of medical activities, which are supposed to continue after our departure.

A cultural mediator working with Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) cares for a young woman who has recently arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea. Image: Alessandro Penso/MSF/Greenpeace

A woman from Afghanistan holds her child after disembarking in Petra, on the Greek island of Lesvos.Image: Alessandro Penso/MSF/Greenpeace

Greece

MSF is providing medical care, shelter, watsan services and distributing relief items to refugees and migrants arriving in the Dodecanese Islands as well as on Lesbos, Samos and Agathonisi; in Athens and at the Idomeni border crossing to FYROM. MSF also distributed items (heating material, tents, energizing food, winter clothing, and blankets) to volunteer groups in Greece to support their actions for refugees. In 2015, Greece saw an unprecedented number of arrivals. By the end of the year, 856,723 people in total had arrived in the country and on average 10 people died every day trying to cross the sea into Europe. As of 13 March 2016, 143,205 people had arrived in Greece and more than 400 people died or went missing trying to reach Europe.

In the past weeks stricter measures have been implemented by the countries on the Balkan Route, leaving many people trapped in Idomeni and stuck in Greece. The border between Greece and FYROM is de facto close for everyone and no refugee is allowed to cross. With the complete closure of the main Balkan migration route towards Western Europe, approximately 45,570 people remain stranded across Greece, of which 12,000 are still in Idomeni, 10,000 on the islands, 11,000 in Athens area and 12,000 in the rest of mainland Greece. Currently all the reception places for asylum seekers in the country - whether in hotels, apartments, centers, abandoned buildings or camps - have reached full capacity. Since the first of March more than 7,874 people arrived in the Greek island, which means an average of 1,500 arrivals per day. According to UNHCR, women and children represent 59% of the arrivals.

Kos/Leros: Faced with no reception infrastructure at all in 2015, works have finally started in Kos and Leros to create reception structures but both centres are not fully operational so far.

In Kos, MSF has established some tents - to provide extra shelter when the island is full- in the car park of an archaeological park on the island. We are also distributing blankets, water and running a medical clinic which includes access to a psychologist. In Leros, MSF is providing shelter and hygiene facilities to host the people brought to the island for registration from the neighbouring military island of Farmakonissi, conducting medical activities and distributing NFI’s and water. The MSF team has been conducting vulnerability screenings to identify the most vulnerable groups like pregnant women, minors, but also people without access to basic services, providing medical consultations and mental health support.Since the beginning of January, in Kos and Leros, MSF medical teams have conducted a total 919 medical consultations in Kos and 1,971 in Leros. MSF psychologists have in the meantime conducted 48 mental health counselling sessions and 265 group sessions with 1,370 participants.

Lesbos: As of 13 March, 83,475 people have arrived to the island of Lesbos – 92% of whom came from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. MSF has been operational on the island since June 2015. In the camp of Moria, MSF is providing medical consultations, mental health support, distributing relief items and conducting water and sanitation activities. In the north of the island, MSF is running rescue activities in partnership with Greenpeace and organising the transportation of new arrivals between the North and the camps in the South where the new arrivals must go to be registered by the Greek authorities. MSF is running on average 10 to 14 buses a day, as well as 2 ambulances for medical referrals of new arrivals, transporting an average of 185 people every day so far in 2016. As of 13 March, MSF transported 12,952 new arrivals. In Mantamados, MSF has established a transit camp for arrivals to the north of the island where we provide shelter, medical activities if needed, a children’s play area and ‘safe space for mothers’ and where people receive food, water and blankets.

Our teams - that are providing medical care to refugees and migrants in Moria camp and at the port of Mytilini, have been treating several pathologies related to the winter conditions, such as respiratory tract infections as well as injuries associated with the journey. Since the beginning of January, MSF medical teams have conducted 8372 medical consultations. MSF psychologists have assisted 149 people through individual sessions and have conducted 133 groups sessions with 589 participants.

Idomeni: Due to the complete closure of the Balkan route over the last few days, thousands of migrants and refugees are trapped at Idomeni, on Greece's border with FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). MSF is running a medical clinic, distributing relief items, providing shelter and water and sanitation. Idomeni camp is only a transit camp and has not been planned to host so many people for such an extended period of time. Rain has brought yet more misery, with more than one-third of around 10,000 migrants stranded in the camp thought to be children and those under five accounting for 20 percent. MSF carried out over 4,000 medical consultations in the last two weeks. The main pathologies we are treatingare respiratory tract infections and gastroenteritis, all linked to the hygienic and shelter conditions and the cold weather. While the main morbidities we are treating in Idomeni camp have not changed in recent weeks, our teams have noted a marked increase in severely vulnerable people seeking medical attention. The number of young infants, expecting mothers in their final stages of pregnancy, people with severe physical or mental disabilities and chronic illnesses have increased, with most requiring medical treatment.

It is a huge challenge to cope with the massive increase of people in Idomeni and respond to their needs. A team of MSF logisticians has helped to increase the capacity of the camp. The camp now has 13 heated rub halls, dozens of 45m2 for an estimated shelter capacity to 2,500 - 3,000 people. During the last week, MSF has distributed 24,000 sandwiches and 11,000 hot meals per day, with the important support of other actors. Additionally, MSF distributed 2,000 blankets and 3,700 raincoats on a daily basis.

Many refugees and migrants are also staying at the gas station less than 20km from the camp. MSF has established nine 45sqm heated tents at the service station, run a mobile medical clinic at the site, set up temporary toilets and distributed blankets, food and water. Over the past 4 months, our medical teams have treated an increasing number of patients for injuries consistent with violent behaviour and reporting having been beaten by FYROM police.

From 1 March to 12 March 2016, MSF medical teams conducted 3,865 medical consultations between Idomeni Transit Camp and the Gas Station. The main morbidities are respiratory tract infections (associated with inadequate shelter - 54%) and gastrointestinal pathologies (associated with inadequate access to hygiene facilities - 12%). Since beginning of January, MSF psychologists have conducted 149 individuals sessions and 174 group sessions with a total of 2016 participants. In addition, we have consistently heard reports from people who were caught crossing illegally into FYROM and claim to have been beaten by the police – indeed, our medical teams have treated a number of injuries consistent with violent behaviour though we cannot confirm the perpetrators of this violence.

Samos: Samos is the second most important island after Lesbos where refugees land when they cross over from Turkey. An MSF team is providing first aid to refugees when they land. Then they transfer them by MSF bus to the city of Vathy where the registration process is taking place in the port area. In Vathy MSF is performing medical and mental health activities at the port where only few nationalities are allowed to be sheltered, mainly Syrians and Iraqis. During weekends, MSF is also running a mobile clinic next to the screening center in the north of Vathy town where people wait for several days/weeks for the registration to be completed. Since the capacity of the camp is not adequate MSF has distributed more than 300 tents in the past two weeks. MSF social workers are supporting the referral of vulnerable cases to the hospital and providing translators. MSF started providing support to local fishermen for search patrols around the island.

Agathonisi: In the island of Agathonisi, close to Samos, MSF team is welcoming new arrivals, providing medical care and shelter to refugees when they land.

Korinthos: In order to provide medical care to the most vulnerable people arriving in Greece, in February, MSF started providing medical care in the Korinthos detention center, where 4,369 people were present. Most of them are coming from Northern Africa and they are stopped in Greece and cannot continue their journey to other European countries. The MSF medical team plans to go to Korinthos twice a week to provide medical consultations in the detention centre.

Athens: In Athens, MSF launched in October 2014 a project offering medical rehabilitation migrants and asylum seekers who have suffered systematic violence in their country of origin, during their journey or in Greece. The MSF team, in cooperation with two local partners: BABEL mental health day center and Greek Council for Refugees, offers medical assistance, including psychiatric care and physiotherapy, psychological, social and legal support aiming at the rehabilitation of victims of violence. 164 people from 33 countries have received assistance in more than 2,500 individual consultations. The project is in the process of being re-launched with increased capacity for outreach in the urban setting in response to the increased needs resulting from the changing context: more and more migrants and refugees spend longer periods in Athens as access to the “Balkans route” is being closed.

Syrian refugees on the border of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia They were among the last group of people allowed to cross from Greece, before the Serbian and other borders along the Balkan route were closed. Photo: UNICEF/Suzie Pappas-Capovska

Due to the complete border closure of the Balkan route over the last few days, a growing number of refugees are stranded in Athens. About 9,000 people are now blocked in the Greek capital and its surroundings, while the accommodation capacities are very limited, even if new hosting sites are in the process of being opened in Athens and in other places around the country. At the west airport terminal in Elliniko, which turn into a hospitality camp for migrants, more than 4,000 people are sleeping in appalling conditions. People are gradually transferred from Piraeus Port to other locations, but the situation remains same as there are daily new arrivals from the islands. Around 3000 people are installed in the terminal waiting areas of the port or sleeping in small tents set up outside. MSF is providing medical and mental health activities and supporting food and blankets distribution in the transit centre set up in the port area where the registration office is located. Moreover, MSF has been providing outpatient medical consultations at the Eleonas Hospitality Centre for Refugees, which is hosting 750 asylum seekers. The medical team consisting of one medical doctor, one nurse, one Arabic translator and one Farsi translator is present every day including weekends.

Victoria square in the centre of Athens has become an unofficial meeting place for migrants of all nationalities. On February 12, MSF started providing outpatient medical consultations in a facility next to Victoria Square, where an NGO welcomes and provides social activities to women and children.
 

Serbia

Since late 2014, MSF teams have been present at both entry and exit points in Serbia offering medical services, mental health support and distributing NFIs to people transiting through Serbia, onwards towards Croatia. MSF has also conducted mobile clinics at the Bulgarian border and since January 2016 has re-started activities in Belgrade. While the flow of refugees through the Balkan route was already restricted to small group of Syrians and Iraqis, the new measures have effectively blocked the passage of refugees of all nationalities. The restrictions on the Balkan route have pushed more people to criminal networks and exposed them to additional violence and abuse. Since November, our teams in Serbia have seen an increase in cases of violence by smugglers and police at the border. Moreover, many people have expressed confusion and frustration, as they are unclear about the reasons for the closure to any onward passage along the route.

From 1 January until 6 March, MSF teams provided 4,636 consultations in Presevo. From 1 January until 12 March, MSF teams provided 8,473 medical consultations in Sid and 2,328 in Belgrade. MSF psychologists have supported more than 97 people through individual sessions and conducted more than 105 group sessions with more than 601 participants.

Belgrade: After the implementation of the first restrictions to the “Balkan route” in November, MSF saw an increase in the number of people staying again in Belgrade parks, sleeping in the street or at train station with low temperatures and lack of support at night (shelter, food, medical, legal, etc.).

MSF started activities in Belgrade with a mobile clinic during the night in the park next to the train station and at Krnjaca asylum camp, a collection of barracks-like huts half an hour’s drive from central Belgrade. These are home to families, elderly and refugees who are not able to cross into Croatia or Hungary and are stranded in Serbia.

MSF is providing primary health care and distributing NFIs. In addition MSF has been advocating for shelter and protection solutions for this vulnerable population, which often reaches Serbia after having crossed Bulgaria or Macedonia walking for days with no assistance, and at risk of violence from criminal groups, police and smugglers. This is also a population that often has tried to pass to Croatia and has been denied access on the train or has been pushed back by police. Although MSF has not witnessed these events and can’t identify perpetrators, we have treated cases consistent with the stories told by our patients – coming from Croatia, Bulgaria or Macedonia.

Presevo: In Presevo, where the registration center is located, hundreds of people were walking through the border in a dirt road which was often muddy. Since the new border control measures have effectively blocked the passage of refugees, the Refugee Aid point (RAP) in Miratovac has been temporarily closed. MSF teams is present at entry points in Serbia around Miratovac to ensure medical assistance.

Sid: In Sid, MSF is operating 20/7 inside a transit center next to the train station. Since the new border control measures have effectively blocked the passage of refugees, around 280 people stranded since at least 3 weeks. MSF has also set up 8 large heated tents with a capacity to shelter more than 2000 people from the cold. By the end of the month, the activities will be taken over by other organization.
FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

Due to stricter conditions of entry for refugees of all nationalities travelling along the Balkan route more refugees are finding themselves returned to FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Currently, in Tabanovce center, in the northern Macedonia near the Serbian border around 1,500 people are hosted, almost 900 Afghani are stranded there since beginning of March. The majority of them were denied entry in Serbia on their way to Western Europe and were sent back. A group of around 400 refugees from Syria and Iraq mostly women and small children arrived last week from Gevgelija, travelling onward from the Greek- FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) border and get stranded under heavy rain in a muddy field, in no-man’s-land between the to FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Serbian frontiers. MSF found the refugees in 3 groups waiting under plastic sheeting. MSF provided with emergency shelters, hot meals and NFI distributions. More than 100 consultations were provided by the MSF mobile medical team deployed from Presevo. In Tabanovce center, MSF teams is also providing psychosocial support and cultural mediation and increasing the shelter capacity of the camp.
 

France

Grande Synthe: MSF together with Grande Synthe municipality and various partner organisations helped the 1,300 migrants in the camp in Basroch to move to the new site known as the “Linière”. The move came after a long process during which MSF’s teams of cultural mediators worked with the migrants to explain how they would be moved and what life would be like at the new site. The Linière camp, originally intended for 2,500 people (the number of migrants present in January 2016), can provide 375 heated wooden shelters, each accommodating up to 4 people. Whereas all the families and children have moved into the 270 that have already been built, some migrants are being temporarily put up in heated tents while waiting for more to be ready – around 20 are assembled every day.

MSF is financing the 2.6 million euros it costs to construct the shelters from its own funds. The camp will not be run by MSF but by UTOPIA 56, an association missioned and funded by the local council. At the medical level, the system set up at the former site in collaboration with MDM, Gynécologues Sans Frontières and the French Red Cross has been maintained and improved. Mobile clinics have been replaced by a medical centre housed in a brick building that is part of the farm located at the entrance to the new site. The centre has several consulting rooms, providing general medicine, nursing care, emergency first aid if necessary, mental health support (an MSF psychologist every day + a psychiatrist twice a week) and gynecology services (Gynécologues Sans Frontières). Another association has been contacted with a view to opening a dental surgery.

Calais: Despite the Government’s desire to reduce the numbers of refugees living in the slum at Calais, more than 4,000 refugees continue to live there. In the medium term, the authorities want the refugees to move in to the temporary structures they’ve provided. They assert that individuals wishing to remain in Calais should move in to the ‘Temporary Reception Centre’ (the white container camp) whilst families and children can stay in the Jules Ferry Centre. Others can move to Reception Centres elsewhere in France, where they are then able to claim asylum.

The destruction of the southern part of the slum started on 29 February and was almost completed by 16 March. There were cases of violence during the evacuation and MSF constructed a small medical clinic in the southern part of the camp, in order to provide medical care to anyone who was wounded. The French authorities now want to move on to the northern part of the camp which would leave 75% of the refugee population without anywhere to go.

The demolitions have already made the living conditions in the northern part of the camp more crowded, resulting in heightened tension and an increased lack of privacy for the people living there. MSF has therefore had to build a new medical clinic in the camp. It constitutes two wooden shelters where refugees can access nursing care, psychological care and receive medical certificates if they’ve been subjected to violence, usually from the local police forces. MSF will continue to testify for the cases of violence committed against the refugees and will expand its mental health activities in the camp, particularly for isolated minors.
 

Slovenia

MSF is monitoring the situation.

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UN Agencies Relaunch Winter Aid Programme to Support Vulnerable Syrian Children in Jordan

December 14, 2015: As the harsh winter approaches Jordan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) launched the winter cash assistance programme again, that will allow vulnerable Syrian families in Za'atari and Azraq camps to buy warm winter clothing for all their children.

“UNICEF’s top priority during the harsh winter months in Jordan is to ensure that vulnerable families are able to keep their children warm, healthy and active, and continue to attend schools and learning programmes,” said the UNICEF Representative, Robert Jenkins in a news release issued by WFP.

According to the news release, this is the second year that UNICEF and WFP partner to provide support to vulnerable Syrian children during the winter, which includes a one-time cash grant from UNICEF that will provide 20 Jordanian Dinars each to a total of 51,851 children under the age of 18 in the two camps.

The assistance will be delivered through electronic food vouchers (e-cards) provided by WFP to Syrian families to buy food every month and the money can be used to buy winter clothes, such as boots, gloves, trousers, coats and scarves at WFP-contracted supermarkets in the camps until mid-January 2016, said the news release.

The UN agencies said that families in the camps being informed through SMS, posters, flyers and awareness sessions with camp community leaders that the UNICEF cash assistance is for the winter needs of their children.

“Our partnership with WFP is highly significant, as it enables us to use their cost efficient e-cards to provide support to every child in the two camps this winter,” said Mr. Jenkins speaking about the UNICEF-WFP partnership.

Echoing the thoughts, WFP Jordan Country Director Mageed Yahia said that WFP is “very excited to partner with UNICEF again” especially during this crucial time.

“This collaboration demonstrates our solid commitment to the wellbeing of the children we support and brings to life WFP’s vision for stronger inter-agency partnership in Jordan,” said Mr. Yahia.

UNICEF said that it is reaching over 150,000 vulnerable children this winter in camps and host communities in Jordan with cash assistance and in-kind winter clothing in partnership with UNHCR, WFP and NGO partners.

According to WFP, through its e-card programme, the UN agency provides monthly food assistance to 523,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in camps and communities in Jordan.

The 2015-2016 winterization programme has been made possible through the generous support from the governments of Canada, European Commission's Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States, according to the news release.

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Posted: December 15, 2015

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UNICEF Plans to Reach 2.6 Million Syrian Children with Winter Supplies and Cash Assistance

Warnings of harsh weather conditions highlight risks facing the most vulnerable children

German Government's €250 Million Contribution will Reach Millions of Children

The German Government’s contribution of €250 million this year will reach millions of children caught in conflict, UNICEF said today.

The funds will support UNICEF’s programs for children and families in the most volatile regions of the world including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. Support will also be given to Syrian refugee children living in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The €250 million contribution this year is an increase of €100 million that the German Government provided to UNICEF last year.

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AMMAN, Jordan, 7 December 2015 – Another harsh winter is looming for more than eight million Syrian children living inside the war-ravaged country or as refugees around the region and beyond.

Preliminary weather forecasts indicate that this winter could be harsher than last year’s with temperatures in some mountainous areas dropping as low as minus 13°C during the coldest days of December and January. As in recent years, storms and heavy snowfall are likely to cause hardship for families who are struggling to survive even in normal conditions.

“These months are particularly brutal for children,” said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “They are at higher risk of developing respiratory infections in the cold weather, and – tragically -- they are also in danger when families burn plastic or other toxic materials inside their shelters to keep warm.”

Ongoing conflict has displaced more than three million children inside Syria, sometimes multiple times. In neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt more than 2, 2 million children are now living as refugees.

Nearly five years into the crisis, many families’ financial resources are exhausted, making purchases of even essentials like warm coats and scarves impossible.

This year, UNICEF is providing a package of assistance for 2.6 million Syrian children inside Syria and across the region. The focus will be on children who have been hit the hardest, including the internally displaced and those living in hard-to-reach areas or in informal tented settlements.

This support is in addition to ongoing programmes in health, education, water and sanitation and protection which continue to reach millions of children around the region, and the recently introduced programme to provide cash assistance and vouchers to families with children up to 15 years of age.

Inside Syria, work is underway to provide up to one million children with winter support, including the distribution of locally procured clothing kits, blankets and school heaters in addition to the distribution of cash vouchers – allowing families to buy their own winter needs. An additional 100,000 children will be reached through cross border initiatives from Turkey and Jordan. Vouchers and cash transfers make up the bulk of UNICEF’s winter response in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.

Earlier today, UNICEF launched its annual appeal for funds to support its programmes overall inside Syria and neighbouring countries, seeking US$ 1.1 billion for 2016.

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for the children of Syria, please visit: www.childrenofsyria.info  or www.unicef.org/mena

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Posted: December 9, 2015

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More Than 26,000 People Sign up to Amnesty International’s First Online Rights Course


The MOOC remains open for unlimited registration

The first ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from Amnesty International opened this week, and has attracted sign-ups from people across the globe who want to learn more about the right to freedom of expression and how to defend it.

Amnesty International experts, including Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Research and Advocacy, will be delivering the course.

Ensaf Haider, wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, will take part in a live interactive session later today - “Freedom of Expression in Saudi Arabia”.

Amnesty International has partnered with edX, a global leader in online education founded by Harvard University and MIT, to deliver the MOOC, which is designed to deepen understanding and create ‘agents of change’.

“Our human rights course is for anyone who wants to discuss, analyse and take action for the right to freedom of expression around the world. By equipping people with a deeper knowledge of human rights – and how best to defend them – we want to support positive and lasting change,” said Barbara Weber, Director, Human Rights Education at Amnesty International.

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Posted: December 4, 2015

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Retail Company Provides $10m in Funds for Refugees Through UN Agency Partnership

25 November 2015 – Tokyo-based Fast Retailing Company Limited, which owns the UNIQLO clothing chain has partnered with the United Nation refugee agency to announce a new agreement to support refugees worldwide, including provision of $10 million in funds and distribution of winter wear for new arrivals in Europe and expanding its internship programme in Japan and abroad.

“Nearly 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes worldwide; the equivalent to almost half the population of Japan. 20 million of these people are refugees,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres in news release.

Mr. Guterres said that in the face of such an unprecedented challenge, robust support from the private sector is crucial for meeting the needs of millions who have lost everything and are seeking a safe place to restore and rebuild their lives.

“I welcome Fast Retailing’s decision to stand behind refugees not just through its generous funding, but also by mobilizing its staff, business partners and customers to join forces for the refugee cause,” said Mr. Guterres.

Echoing that sentiment, Chairman, President and CEO of Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai also said that the refugee issue is one of the most difficult challenges the international community is facing today.

“We must collectively tackle the constant threats that have forced so many people, including a large number of children, to flee,” said Mr. Yanai, commenting on today’s announcement.

The company, which has been providing refugees with emergency assistance, programs that promote self-reliance and donations of clothes for nearly 10 years, said that it will “continue to supply refugees with the clothes they need and give them hope for better lives, in keeping with our never-ending desire for a sustainable and peaceful world.”

According to the Office of the High Commissioner (UNHCR), the partnership with Fast Retailing dates back to 2006, which then entered into an expanded partnership in 2011, a first for a company headquartered in Asia.

The news release said that the new support pledged today is part of a global partnership aimed at assisting forcibly displaced people around the world, in recognition of the need for international organizations and private enterprise to collaborate more closely for the refugee cause.

Under the new agreement, Fast retailing will support UNHCR with $10 million over the next three years, starting from 2016, which will help the UN agency to respond to emergencies and other acute humanitarian crises, and provide refugees in Asia with help to become self-reliant.

Further, the donation is also expected to cover costs related to the distribution of donated clothing, and to date, Fast Retailing has collected and distributed through UNHCR more than 10 million items of lightly used clothing to refugees across 37 countries.

Lastly, UNHCR said that an additional 150,000 items of Extra Warm HEATTECH clothing will be provided by the agency to help families seeking asylum in Europe and Afghanistan through the coming winter, and alternatively, Fast Retailing said they would provide internships with future employment possibilities to 100 refugees in Japan.

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Posted on : November 26, 2015

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We are One

In love as Romeo and Juliet, humans would call out, Wherefore art thou Romeo?

In expressing love and longing humans would sing out Rusalka like La bellissima Anna Netrebko

Or out of desperate soul-wrenching longing they would seek to send out messages through to their Beloved by Clouds  as Kalidasa's Yaksha sought to do

In celebrating a breakthrough humans would call out Eureka as Archimedes did

In pleading for one's love humans would sing out like Renée Fleming in O mio babbino caro

In accepting one's destiny with despair, pain and futility human would call out like Macbeth

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

In reaching youth and finding life's new and ever opening avenues of joys and wonders awe-inspiring, thrilling and magical humans would sing and dance as Natasha did in the deep depth of the Russian countryside, being the most beautiful a human being as she would and could ever be, at that moment, as her uncle played folk music in Tolstoy's War and Peace

In agony and anguish humans would cry out like P. B, Shelley's Prometheus

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Has its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!

In expressing the depth of separation and love humans would sing out

Ach, die Gärten bist du,
ach, ich sah sie mit solcher
Hoffnung. Ein offenes Fenster
im Landhaus—, und du tratest beinahe
mir nachdenklich heran. Gassen fand ich,—
du warst sie gerade gegangen,
und die spiegel manchmal der Läden der Händler
waren noch schwindlich von dir und gaben erschrocken
mein zu plötzliches Bild.—Wer weiß, ob derselbe
Vogel nicht hinklang durch uns
gestern, einzeln, im Abend?
 

As Rainer Maria Rilke

Or like Pablo Neruda

Ya tus manos abrieron los puños delicados
y dejaron caer suaves signos sin rumbo,
tus ojos se cerraron como dos alas grises,

mientras yo sigo el agua que llevas y me lleva:
la noche, el mundo, el viento devanan su destino,
y ya no soy sin ti sino solo tu sueño.
 

Or as Paul Verlaine

Il pleut dans mon coeur comme il pleut sur la ville.
Quelle est cette langueur qui pénètre mon Coeur?

In expressing a truth a human would  find means as Einstein did and expressed it

As E = mc2

Or would find a way to express one's inner truth as one finds them like René Descartes and express it

As Cogito ergo sum.

In joy, in harmony, in happiness, in love, in care, in compassion, in being graceful, in being kind, in being thoughtful, in being considerate, in thankfulness, in being in and among family, friends, community and society, in achieving and creating, in singing and in celebration, in pain, in agony, in suffering, in despair, in longing, in facing challenges, in drawing out strength and steel as required, in feeding hope, in keeping faith, in short, in being human, there is no difference between two humans regardless of their form, shape, colour, stature, physique, nationality, religion, language, gender, class, status etc.

We all have the common language of our humanity which is our humanity itself. That is the ultimate human language in which we can and do connect and communicate without the need of any other human tongue as and when we must when mere humanity connects us together .

As in when one is in agony, a soldier, mortally wounded, on a battlefield, while another soldier of another land, finds the dying soldier and stays with him until the end; holding him, the other soldier just sits there being a human, next to the dying one: yet neither speaks the other's tongue.

Or when a nurse does the same to a dying patient whose language she does not speak nor does the patient understand her tongue. Yet she sits there next to him, holding his hand and he dies holding her hand ( a human hand) knowing that he was being connected to a human being who sat there with him as he departed.

This is what we have, humanity which is our property ( as oxygen's property is to help things burn, light's property is to illumine things)  and at the same time humanity is our relations, our connections, our transactions, our creations, our imaginations, our hopes, faiths and loves. There is nothing bigger on earth to aspire to but to strive to seek to be the best of this humanity for this is large enough, infinite enough a jacket that is capable of being our true home as 'identity' because its shape and size fits us perfectly as it is as big as the Universe as we ourselves are; no other jacket of identity does or would fit us. We are one.

At the core we are elementally, fundamentally and inalienably one. We are one the way a human physiology is one in which trillions of cells are connected together into an unimaginably complex 'tree of life' that form the 'person' of one human being ( that is the entire Universe in microcosm). This is the One Humanity we are in which each one of us is a 'cell' connected to the wider 'grid' of cell-humanity. Until we learn to replicate and follow the most sophisticated, most complex, most efficient and most productive human physiology as to how magnanimously it works at all times ( in most cases, in most of the times) and become like it metaphorically in which each and all cells work together in unison to achieve the 'best possible outcome' of all our endeavours: to achieve, foster, regulate, maintain and continue 'homeostasis'.

In Medicine it is called homeostasis, in philosophy, this is what we are calling Natural Justice and it comes with Liberty and Equality.

And that is where, how and when and why we are the Humanion and that is where The Humanion would dream us heading.

Shall we make a go?

Munayem Mayenin
Editor
 

Posted on: November 3, 2015

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UN Agency Partners with IKEA to Raise Funds to ‘Brighten Lives' for Refugees

A woman carrying a young child receives relief items for her family, at a Red Cross station set up outdoors at the reception centre for refugees and migrants, in the town of Šid, Serbia, on the border with Croatia. Photo: UNICEF/ Shubucki

23 November 2015 – Amid the deepening global refugee crisis, the IKEA Foundation will restart its ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees’ campaign between November 29 and December 19 in 40 countries, through which the Foundation will donate €1 to the United Nations refugee agency for every light-emitting diode (LED) product sold in all the big-box retailer’s stores and online.

“Finding innovative ways to help refugees is enormously important. The clean energy we’re able to provide with the support from the IKEA Foundation is a practical solution to an essential need and transforms the quality of life for many,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres in a news release on the effort to provide light and energy from renewable sources to refugee camps.

According to the High Commissioner’s Office (UNHCR), the funds generated through the campaign will help in provision of solar-powered street lights, lanterns and solar energy systems that will support energy self-reliance among refugees and host communities in UNHCR camps in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and fund improved access to primary education.

According to UNHCR estimates, there were 19.5 million refugees globally at the beginning of this year, with more than half that number being children.

“With the millions of people worldwide who are forcibly displaced today, the global context for our work is more challenging than ever,” said Mr. Guterres.

Further, the UN agency said that although war and persecution are primary reasons forcing people to flee, climate change and related drivers of displacement including natural disasters such as droughts, floods and diminishing natural resources are also causes for concern.

“Sadly, the escalating refugee crisis caused by protracted conflict situations around the world does not seem likely to calm down any time soon, and lesser-known factors, such as climate change-induced natural disasters, could force even more people to flee for a safe place to call home," explained Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

UNHCR reported that the campaign, which started in 2014, will reach its final phase this year and added that a lot of progress has been marked since its initiation.

According to the news release, more than 284,000 refugees and members of host communities in Ethiopia and Jordan are able to live in greater safety at night after 56,000 solar lanterns and the installation of 720 solar street lights were provided to the region.

Additionally, funds generated by the campaign helped more than 37,000 refugee children to be enrolled in primary school in Bangladesh, Chad and Ethiopia, allowing them to pursue their education and also allowed more than 740 teachers to be trained in these countries.

The agency also said that 22 biogas plants were constructed in Bangladesh, allowing for 15 per cent of human waste to be processed and generating green fuel for cooking.

Lastly, the news release also added that the Ikea Foundation, UNHCR’s largest private sector partner since 2010, believes that every child deserves a safe place to call home and the partnership has helped in providing shelter, care and education to families and children in refugee camps and surrounding communities in many parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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Posted on : November  24, 2015

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BMA News Writing Competition 2015 Winning Entry

''For some asylum seekers who have been tortured, post-traumatic stress disorder means that intrusive memories can be triggered by everyday events. The winner of the BMA News Writing Competition 2015, Sheffield GP Jo Cannon, describes what the experience of knowing one such refugee has taught her.''

A Ghost in the Family

Jo Cannon

''When they had taken all he had, the police released Michael and let him board a plane. But he took the prison with him.
Many times an hour he’s back there. A cascade of images, triggered by a colour, smell or movement. The present is lost — a pause, a missed heartbeat — as he keeps the days going. And always he’s vigilant. He never sleeps for long.
Michael was lucky. He arrived 17 years ago, before fear and distrust of asylum seekers reached its current intensity. At Heathrow he was examined by a doctor, then a lawyer.''

Read Jo Cannon's Winning Entry on BMA website

Posted on: November 21, 2015

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