The association International Support – Human Rights reminds you that it is time to implement a change on immigration policies and on the management of social programs led by NGOs and cooperatives. 2016 was a tumultuous year: the election results and political confrontations, Brexit’s referendum, a nervous global economy, and a series of terrorist attacks influenced migratory movements and countries’ reactions. Obviously, this atmosphere affects all refugees including LGBTIs, sometimes neglected since they are a minority.
It is not easy to predict where the next refugee crisis will come, but in certain countries some strong political tendencies make them easy to happen, and their resemblance is surprising, in spite of the differences among contexts.
In the developed world, right-wing populists have successfully exploited migrants and refugees and have convinced voters, who have their power to determine the future of Europe. The globalized world has turned migrants into powerful weapons that countries of origin and transit can use to extort enormous amounts of fundings for aid and many other concessions.
The events for 2017 will also depend on political moderators, leaders, and civil society who are rejecting migratory movements from all countries, going against international policies, but without any opposition from governments.
The decline in funding from the United States and potentially from the EU, being so close to the 2017 elections, could cause UNHCR and other powerful international NGOs to play a less important role in the international regime of refugees. Jeff Crisp, former head of UNHCR’s policy, anticipates that this attitude could pave the way for other participants to fill some of the inevitable gaps in programs to support refugees, particularly in the development sector, in civil society and in other private sectors.
In such a delicate environment, there is the need of concrete and decisive actions to start a real change, but above all to spread greater awareness among the operators of the sector, who have been undisputed protagonists of this work so far.
Betts of the Refugee Studies States Center claims that UNHCR will reach a juncture in 2017 and must be able to develop a clear strategy to mitigate the current political climate otherwise they could find themselves in a difficult situation . Cuts in funding and places of resettlement, and all the nations ignoring international refugee law will put the agency in a “very difficult position”.
For this reason, a few months from the beginning of the year, there is a need to change immigration policies and create concrete support plans for the victims of a very complex system that is infecting many countries. Common commitment and solidarity in facing the immigration issue must be taken into account by each Member State. What is more, resettlement that is still so neglected in many European countries should be valued as an opportunity to give a twist to the international political system.
The decisive action of former UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, who will take the helm as General Secretary of the United Nations in 2017, could be decisive in giving greater attention to the causes of displacement, explains Betts. Guterres could also help for “a favorable political space” in which it is possible to develop meaningful global agreements on refugees and migrants that the UN Member States have already examined in September.
According to some research conducted on the web by International Support – Human Rights greater control of immigration in Europe, United States and Australia may not go unnoticed in developing countries, where the vast majority of refugees are still housed. Any cuts in the UNHCR funding could be a source of much greater concern, many programs are not effective as they used to be and the ongoing streams of refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan would add even more pressure to the main host countries, including Turkey, Uganda, Kenya and Pakistan. The problem does not only involve sexual minorities, but all asylum seekers wanting a more dignified life.
In November, Kenya postponed the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp, a very important camp, given the huge number of people living there, that is currently hosting 261.000 Somali refugees. At the end of May it had been asked for clearance, in spite of the remorse of voluntary repatriations and residents in the center who were faced with a Real threat with a forced return home while having to deal with Somalia’s insecurity which still persists in 2017. The problem is not completely solved yet.
Kenya is not the only country facing a difficult situation. For Afghan refugees in Pakistan, temporary repatriation and forced return have been requested. A repatriation program that has already forced more than half a million Afghans back home only in 2016, and currently many of them are still waiting. Pakistan had fixed a deadline by the end of March 2017 for all Afghan refugees to leave the country before deportations start. Meanwhile, in recent months, Iran has returned a large number of unmanned Afghans, which Europe expected to repatriate in 2017 after failing with repatriations in the previous year. Given the declining security in Afghanistan, according to the authority of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, many repatriates are expected to migrate again.
It is evident that in such a precarious context, you cannot foresee the future of immigration. Trump’s promise of building a “big and beautiful wall”, that almost certainly helped him win the elections, turned out to be inadmissible and is considered as a symbol of the country’s resistance. The European Union continues to promise agreements with other countries which could help in dropping the number of incoming people, but all in all the results were really poor.
International Support – Human Rights is calling for support to carry out programs to help refugees in a legal and secure way, such as resettlement, to promote social integration policies, and as far as LGBTI asylum seekers are concerned, with safe accommodation, information and language courses. Adequate psychological support will be given in the structures. The main goal is to relieve suffering caused by violence and discomfort situations in which these people are forced to live in their places of origin and to resettle them in safer places. That is the reason why we are particularly keen on promoting the work of associations and NGOs that are struggling to carry out their programs and continue to manage the Camps, in places like Kenya, a country in which these problems have crossed the line.
LGBTI refugees are not the only ones to live in discomfort, suffering and fear of repatriation. In these areas there are many children, women and people in urgent need of a suitable location for their survival. For this reason, we believe that spreading information and raising awareness is important to change views on a factor that is still not seen as a social need.
More than 65 million people are looking for better food, security, and better lives for themselves and their families. They run away for many reasons: wars, ethnic and religious conflicts, corruption and crime. The international picture after World War II was created to satisfy an unprecedented flow of humanity that crossed the frontiers, like those who are now moving to face the big crisis. You have to be more aware of what’s happening and you cannot ignore this important era.
We remind you that our association is working hard to achieve these goals and to be able to organise information conferences, workshops to discuss the Human Rights of LGBTI Asylum Seekers. In collaboration with NGOs, cooperatives and other people in the industry. Contact us for any information.
Article written by
International Support – Human Rights
Bologna – Bruxelles