The European Union plans to spend more than €5 billion ($5.9 billion) to help Turkey and other countries host Syrian refugees, diplomats said on Wednesday.
European Commission’s proposal will be presented to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Pour it can become official policy, it would need approve from EU governments and the European Parliament .
Human rights groups say the deal is a way to outsource the problem without considering the human factor.
The proposal, briefed out to the media on Wednesday, sets aside €3.5 billion for Turkey, €2.2 billion for Jordan and Lebanon over the next three years.
Per UN figures this three nations are currently home to more than 5 million Syrian refugees. .
The fresh funding was initially promised to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during talks with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel in Ankara back in April.
The 2016 agreement said it would provide Turkey with up to €6 billion in health, education, food and infrastructure assistance.
It came after the 2015 migration crisis when more than one million refugees and migrants entered Europe at the height of the Syrian civil war.
Officials in Ankara said the amount was not enough to cope with the financial burden of welcoming so many migrants to Turkey, arguing the installment payouts were often hit by delays.
But Turkey failing to honor its commitments under the agreement, that they have allowed migrants to cross into Europe.
The European Commission is seeking a similar migrant accord with Tunisia and Libya
Inclusive Education for Migrants and Refugees – Side event on the margins of the 47th Session of the Human Rights Council
The event will be held online on Thursday, 24 June 2021 at 13:00 CET, and it is being co-organized by Arigatou International Geneva, the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies, and KAICIID Dialogue Centre.
Increasing conflicts, political and financial crises have led to insecurity and hardship in many people’s lives, resulting in increasing numbers of migrants and refugees and intensifying challenges in many societies. The panel discussion aims to reflect on the importance of national education policies and programs that can support inclusive education for migrants and refugees, particularly as access to social services have been halted and discrimination has been exacerbated during the pandemic.
Description: Increasing conflicts, political and financial crisis have led to insecurity and hardship in many people’s lives, resulting in increasing numbers of migrants and refugees and intensifying challenges in many societies. The COVID-19 has exacerbated tensions between migrant, refugee and host communities. Hate speech, stigmatization, incitement to discrimination and xenophobia have increased during the pandemic, building on an existing and generalized culture of mistrust in societies.
The pandemic has largely disrupted access to quality education, particularly for children who are displaced, migrants and refugees. An urgent response is needed to provide these children with the right to education and make sure that they are not left behind. A continuous effort to promote inclusive education in emergencies context where there is a limited access to basic services is critical to ensure access and quality education for all.
1. Reflect on the challenges and opportunities to support the implementation of educational policies and programs that foster inclusive education as a central response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
2. Identify good practices of how education can foster learning to live together in societies, in particular amidst increasing distrust, xenophobia and discrimination affecting migrants and refugees
3. Share successful policies and programs to support quality and inclusive education for migrants and refugees.
Panelists will share good practices in education to contribute to building forward better to prevent further discrimination and rupture of the social fabric as well as helping to create new narratives of solidarity in societies.
Dr. Angeliki Aroni, Head, Unit for Integration and Support, Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors, Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Greece
Ms. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa
Ms. Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, andSpecial Coordinator, Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe
Mr. Javed Natiq, Education Sector Lead,
World Vision Afghanistan
Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Executive Director,
Arigatou International Geneva
Prof. Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Senior Adviser, KAICIID Dialogue Center
Dr. Fadi Yarak (TBC), Director-General of Education, Ministry of Education & Higher Education, Lebanon
Dr. Rebecca Telford, Chief of Education, UNHCR
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Ayat Al Huseein: refugee community psychosocial worker helps other refugees tackle mental health issues
“In some ways, this job has helped me rebuild my own life. I can now help others heal and develop mental health resilience, too,” says Ayat Al Huseein, a thirty-year-old refugee from Syria, who left with her family by boat for Greece about three years ago and is now working as a psychosocial worker. She is part of a project offering refugees and asylum seekers psychosocial assistance.
“I meet people who are very diverse, as are their psychosocial needs, which means I need to adapt my response accordingly. When I visit a person who has requested assistance or has been referred to us, I use the competencies acquired during my training and rely on my personal skills. Before leaving Syria, I worked as a teacher and my ability to communicate, actively listen and empathize serve me well.
“Refugees’ psychosocial needs vary depending on lived experiences, age, gender and background, but I strive to help them all find hope again for what the future might bring.”
Impactful multidisciplinary collaborations
“Psychosocial support can come in various forms – some refugees require emotional comfort, others need to be motivated to join activities that can help them establish ties with local communities, and yet others need practical support in carrying out day-to-day tasks.
“I help refugees by listening to their stories and identifying organizations or actors that offer the services they need to get better, like language classes or assistance in accessing health care, legal counsel or finding a job. Mental health issues require a comprehensive, multisectoral response.
“When refugees face severe mental health issues, I turn to my team leader and other health care professionals. This collaboration is essential to ensure a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to refugees’ mental health, and we continuously emphasize the importance of coordination among all actors on the ground, to help refugees become autonomous again.”
Ayat and her colleagues refer to various WHO-issued manuals for mental health field workers, such as Psychological first aid: Facilitator’s manual for orienting field workers, Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers, and Problem Management Plus Individual psychological help for adults impaired by distress in communities exposed to adversity.
Sharing similar stories helps make meaningful connections
“One of the best features of this project is that the community psychosocial workers are refugees themselves. As we often share similar stories, culture and language, refugees have an easier time confiding in us because they know we can truly relate to their experiences. This makes it easier to build a relationship and a meaningful connection.
“I once met a woman who was dealing with anxiety and depression. She was listless, had no friends, and would even forget to pick up her children from school. We began to meet regularly and, over time, she made substantial progress. We managed to help her sign up for language classes, find a job, and attend cultural events, where she found friends. She was able to change her life.
“It is these experiences that keep me motivated at work. I want to help people and see them improve. I wish for this project to continue and reach everyone who needs it across all countries.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered but not stopped psychosocial workers’ efforts
The current COVID-19 pandemic may further exacerbate refugee mental health conditions, as public health measures, social isolation, food and medicine insecurity, and quarantine may act as triggers of past traumas. The lives of asylum seekers and refugees in countries of arrival, even before the pandemic, are also often fraught with social, cultural, linguistic and legal barriers which may exacerbate or cause psychological challenges.
Asylum seekers and refugees may experience intense feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness due to past traumatic experiences, which may be a consequence of various stress factors related to hardships experienced in their country of origin, migration journey or living conditions in the European Region.
“Since the pandemic began, we have not been able to visit persons of concern in their homes and must instead meet online or over digital tools. We make use of all possible services, ranging from regular phone calls to video chats and social media channels,” Ayat explains.
“Some have been reluctant to resort to technological tools to communicate, and many required some time to adapt, just like we, psychosocial workers, also had to adjust to the new circumstances. However, I really believe that despite these challenges, we have been successful in continuing to offer the care and support refugees need.”
Ayat has worked at EPAPSY – the Association for Regional Development and Mental Health – since November 2019, providing psychosocial support to adult refugees and asylum seekers who live in the urban areas of Attica in Greece. From January to September 2020, the Community Psychosocial Workforce project has provided its services to 92 beneficiaries, including people experiencing homelessness, self-accommodated individuals and persons of concern identified in the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation programme implemented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in collaboration with local authorities and nongovernmental organizations, and funded by the European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
- Current rules do not ensure fair distribution of responsibility among member states
- Frontline countries bear a disproportionate burden in terms of registration and reception of asylum-seekers
- In the absence of a reform, more resources must be channelled to frontline member states
The Dublin Regulation does not share responsibility fairly among member states nor secure swift access to asylum procedures, say Civil Liberties Committee MEPs.
In a draft resolution to assess the functioning of the law that determines the member state which has to deal with an asylum application, the committee notes that the 2013 Dublin III Regulation puts a “disproportionate responsibility on a minority of member states, in particular when high numbers of arrivals occur”. MEPs call for a solidarity-based mechanism to ensure the fundamental right to asylum in the EU and the equal distribution of responsibility among member states.
The inappropriate application of the hierarchy of criteria – in particular the excessive use of the first country of entry criterion – and the ineffective implementation of transfers increase pressure on certain countries, namely Greece, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, and Spain, according to the committee, which asks for fairer rules.
MEPs regret that Council, contrary to Parliament, did not adopt a position on the 2016 proposal to reform the Dublin Regulation, thereby blocking that reform and leaving the Union with the “same set of rules which have proven to be ineffective” in managing high numbers of arrivals. They insist that ad hoc agreements on relocation cannot replace a harmonized and sustainable Common European and Asylum System and demand more resources and capabilities for frontline member states as long as the Dublin rules are not reformed.
The non-legislative text was approved with 45 votes to 10 and 13 abstentions. It will be put to the vote by the full House during the next plenary session. You can read more about the draft resolution here.
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