Gaza humanitarian crisis: "Essentially a time bomb"

The head of the UN agency responsible for providing assistance to five million Palestine refugees throughout Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories addressed the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee on 2 March. We interviewed him on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Gaza and Syria.
Below you will find below the interview and audiovisual material that you can use free of charge. To check the terms and conditions, click on the link to the right.

Interview
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UNRWA chief on Gaza: “We’re essentially talking about a time bomb”

Videos
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Arab League chief calls for greater EU role in bringing peace
Foreign Security policy: anything new?
Palestinian statehood: the foundations or culmination of peace?
Palestinian statehood: what kind of recognition?

Photos
Palestine president Mahmoud Abbas visits the European Parliament

Article
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Palestine president Mahmoud Abbas visits the European Parliament 

Multimedia file
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Syria: more than three years of conflict and three millions refugees

Background
Foreign affairs committee (website)

youtube

Please, if I’ve ever written something that you cared about, watch this and, if it speaks to you at all, share it — reblog it or blog it, spread it about, get other people to watch it.

It’s a VERY short film. It’s important. And it needs to be seen.

(And thank you to Amanda Palmer, for writing and playing the original, beautiful, piano score.)

Australia’s immigration laws are exceptional

No country in the world, especially not comparable countries such as the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the US, mandates the indefinite detention of children as the first policy option and then denies them effective access to the courts to challenge the necessity of their detention over months and even years…

34 percent of children detained in Australia and Christmas Island have a mental health disorder of such severity that they require psychiatric support. Fewer than 2 percent of children in the general community have mental health disorders of this severity.  We believe the rate to be even higher in Nauru.

Children are self-harming in detention at very high rates – over a 15 month period from 2013-2014, there were 128 incidents of self-harm amongst children.

During this same period there were 27 incidents of voluntary starvation involving children.

Children have been exposed to unacceptable levels of assault, including sexual assault and violence in detention. They often live with adults who are mentally unwell.

Children live in very cramped conditions where disease and fear spread quickly. On Christmas Island up to 4 people shared a tiny room of 2.5 x 3 metres

Leading this Inquiry has been a life changing experience for me… as I talked to a very young girl - as bright and eager as any Australian… she broke down in tears, not because her family had been killed by Al Shabaab in Somalia or because she is alone and scared, but because she has been denied an education for a year on Christmas Island.

—  Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, releasing their Forgotten Children report on children in immigration detention

"alim (left) and sadik (right) are kurdish refugees from lachin and kelbajar, areas of the former soviet azerbaijan republic, which used to be called "red kurdistan." they stand after lessons in their rundown school on a day when only three students came, due to the cold - the school has no windows. the kurdish population fled their villages when armenian forces conquered the area. The majority of kurds now live in lachin winter grounds, an area of azerbaijan with little water and difficult soil." [heidi bradner via alexia foundation]

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It is morally and spiritually wrong to mistreat and harm a group of marginal, vulnerable oppressed people who have arrived seeking our help - Rev. Dr Andrews.

Left wing Christian radicals are my favourite because rather than combing their book for messages of hate and intolerance, they live and breathe Jesus’s central message of compassion and kindness.

82-year-old Ayman is asked what is the most important thing he brought with him from Syria, he replies his wife: “She’s the best woman I’ve met in my life. Even if I were to go back 55 years, I would choose you again.” 

"At home we lived like kings and queens. Now, we are refugees. What I miss most is my farm. I miss the olive trees. I don’t even know if my house is still standing.” [Photo: UNHCR/ B. Sokol]

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Today alone, 32,000 people will be forced out of their homes.

There are 50 million refugees in the world today — the highest number since WWII. Many risk their lives taking overcrowded boats or walking for hundreds of miles to cross borders. Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps help people thrive, not just survive. “The victims of war can hold the keys to lasting peace,” she says, “and it’s the refugees who can stop the cycle of violence.”

Watch her powerful talk on people living in exile »

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Today marks the one year anniversary of the murder of Reza Barati who was allegedly attacked and killed by detention centre staff. They have yet to be trialed and there is no trial date. The anniversary was marked by skywriting over the Opera House and parliament that read “shut down Manus” and “close Naru”. More can be read about it here.

RIP Reza Barati. I hope future governments of Australia won’t let refugees down the way ours let you and your family down.

50 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their home — a level not seen since WWII. Right now, more than 3 million Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20% are in school. Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps are healing places where people can develop the skills they’ll need to rebuild their hometowns.

PLEASE. 

Watch this. And reblog it. PLEASE.

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Today, 3 million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon, and over half are children. They’re likely to spend an average of 17 years in exile. 

Those children are the future — the ones who will rebuild their country — but only 20% are in school, and they’re forced to stop at low grade levels.    

Melissa Fleming of the UN Refugee Agency wants that to change. “Education allows them to think of their future,” she says. “Of hope, rather than hatred.” 

In her powerful TED Talk, she urges us to create camps where refugees can heal and grow. "The victims of war can hold the keys to lasting peace, and it’s the refugees who can stop the cycle of violence." 

Hear their powerful stories »

Illustrations by Clarice Holt.