Ten countries host half of world’s refugees: report
5/10/16; Al Jazeera News And News Agencies
World’s wealthiest nations accused by Amnesty of leaving poorer countries bearing the brunt of global refugee crisis. Ten countries – which account for just 2.5 percent of the global economy – are hosting more than half the world’s refugees, a rights group has said, accusing wealthy countries of leaving poorer nations to bear the brunt of a worsening crisis.In a report published on Tuesday, Amnesty International said the unequal share was exacerbating the global refugee problem, as inadequate conditions in the main countries of shelter pushed many to embark on dangerous journeys to Europe and Australia.
The London-based group said 56 percent of the world’s 21 million refugees are being hosted by just 10 countries – all in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Top refugee hosting countries
1. Jordan (2.7 million)
2. Turkey (2.5 million)
3. Pakistan (1.6 million)
4. Lebanon (1.5 million)
5. Iran (979,400)
6. Ethiopia (736,100)
7. Kenya (553,900)
8. Uganda (477,200)
9. Democratic Republic of Congo (383,100)
10. Chad (369,500)
Jordan, which has taken in more than 2.7 million people, was named as the top refugee hosting country, followed by Turkey, over 2.5 million; Pakistan, 1.6 million; and Lebanon, more than 1.5 million.
The other top six nations were Iran, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.
“A small number of countries have been left to do far too much just because they are neighbours to a crisis,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretary-general.
“That situation is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering.”
Amnesty said many of the world’s wealthiest nations “host the fewest and do the least”, highlighting a stark contrast in the number of refugees taken in by countries near crisis-hit areas and by wealthier nations with similar populations elsewhere.
Dangerous routes; Download a GIF of this video here
Britain, for example, has taken in fewer than 8,000 Syrians since 2011, while Jordan – with a population almost 10 times smaller than Britain and just 1.2 percent of its GDP – hosts more than 655,000 refugees from its war-torn neighbour, Amnesty said.
Europe faces worsening refugee crisis in 2016″It is not simply a matter of sending aid money. Rich countries cannot pay to keep people ‘over there’,” it said.
Amnesty proposed a solution, whereby the world’s richest countries would find a home for 10 percent of the planet’s refugees every year, and singled out Canada, which has resettled some 30,000 Syrian refugees in the past year, as a wealthy country doing its part.
“It is time for leaders to enter into a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution,” Shetty said. “They need to explain why the world can bail out banks, develop new technologies and fight wars, but cannot find safe homes for 21 million refugees, just 0.3 percent of the world’s population.”
Kathleen Newland, cofounder of the Migration Policy Institute, said unless more countries step up their response, the refugees will continue to flee using dangerous routes
“I think we’ll see more people trying to move through clandestine channels using smugglers, putting themselves in great danger to try to reach a place where they can restart their lives,” she told Al Jazeera. “The more governments try to close off those routes, the more dangerous the alternatives become.”
Lebanon: The Mother Refugees;
Al Jazeera News And News Agencies
Global, Migrants & Refugees
UN’s highest court rejects epic Marshall Islands nuclear case
6/10/16; The Hague; AFP – Top UN court to decide fate of Marshalls epic nuclear case Share Tweet Email
The UN’s highest court on Wednesday narrowly threw out landmark cases brought by the tiny Marshall Islands against India, Pakistan and Britain for allegedly failing to halt the nuclear arms race.
In majority and sharply divided decisions, a 16-judge bench at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled there was no evidence that Majuro had a prior dispute with any of the three nuclear giants or had sought negotiations on the issue.
“The court upholds the objection to jurisdiction” raised by each of the countries, presiding judge Ronny Abraham said in separate rulings, and therefore the tribunal “cannot proceed to the merits of the case.”
The tiny Pacific island nation, with a population of 55,000, was ground zero for a string of devastating nuclear tests on its pristine atolls between 1946-58, carried out by the United States as the Cold War arms race gathered pace.
After the hearings, the Marshalls said it will now “study the ruling” which is final and without appeal.
“Obviously it’s very disappointing,” Marshall Islands lawyer Phon van den Biesen told reporters. “It’s a dispute that is clear to all of the world except for the judges here,” he said, outside the courtroom in the ICJ’s historic headquarters in the Peace Palace in The Hague.
– ‘Sky turned blood-red’
Initially in 2014, Majuro had accused nine countries of failing to comply with the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which seeks to inhibit the spread of atomic bombs.
But the ICJ already refused to take up cases against the other countries — China, France, Israel, North Korea, Russia and the United States — as they have not recognised the court’s jurisdiction. Israel has also never formally admitted to having nuclear weapons.
The Marshall Islands argued that by not stopping the nuclear arms race Britain, India and Pakistan had breached obligations under the treaty — even if New Delhi and Islamabad have not signed it. At a poignant March hearing, Majuro’s lawyers painted a vivid picture of the horrors caused by 67 nuclear tests notably the atolls of Bikini and Enewetak.
“Several islands in my country were vaporised and others are estimated to remain uninhabitable for thousands of years,” Tony deBrum, a former Marshall Islands foreign minister, told the court. “The entire sky turned blood-red,” said deBrum, who was nine when he witnessed the blasts.
Judge Abraham noted the archipelago, “by virtue of the suffering which its people endured as a result of it being used as a site for extensive nuclear testing, has special reasons for concern about nuclear disarmament.” “But that fact does not remove the need to establish that the conditions for the court’s jurisdiction are met,” Abraham said.
– ‘Horrific weapons’
The so-called “Operation Castle” tests in March and April 1954 were particularly devastating and resulted in massive contamination due to nuclear fall-out.
The NPT commits all nuclear weapon states “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date.”
Critics had argued however that the ICJ action was a distraction as the islanders’ real fight was with Washington. They contended the case was unrelated to the victims’ claims for increased compensation, better health care and clean-ups to render the sites habitable again.
The islands hoped however to reignite the debate over the disarmament talks, which have stalled over the past two decades.
“The Marshall Islands decided to bring these cases because they come from a notion that in the end nuclear weapons are the most horrific weapons on earth,” said Majuro’s lawyer Van den Biesen.
Experts told AFP there had always been a possibility the case could “backfire”.
“That it happened this early is certainly very disappointing for them and the whole nuclear disarmament movement,” said Joris Larik, senior researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. “But it also shows that small island nations are looking for smart ways to play a role on the global stage. Sometimes they succeed and in a case like this, perhaps not so much.”
UN, Nuclear, Marshall Islands