Happy Holidays to you and your families.
2016 has been an unprecedented year. Not only does the world continue to struggle with extremism, civil war and poverty - we now find ourselves with even more economic uncertainty following two historical elections on both sides of the Atlantic.
But, one of the most urgent issues of this year has been the growing global refugee crisis.
Earlier this month I hosted my annual blog breakfast in Washington D.C. to discuss 'The Global Refugee Crisis: How can we ensure that women and children are protected and empowered to rebuild their lives.'
This was an important moment to bring together people from across the globe that represented NGOs, corporates and media to discuss this urgent issue.
On average 2,000 refugees are arriving in Europe every day. As of 15 January 2016, just over 55% of those arriving were women and children, compared to only 27% in June 2015. In January the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) reported that sexual and gender-based violence was growing, with cases including female refugees being forced to engage in transactional sex to “pay for” travel documents on their journey.
There is a need to establish a coordinated response system within and across borders that protects women and girls. One that will ensure that generations of women are not lost and their personal and economic capabilities are not forgotten. This is not only to empower and protect these generations, but to ensure refugees are able to contribute economically.
I call on governments to commit to the following to combat the current global refugee crisis:
- Welcome refugees as lawful immigrants.
- Ensure suitable housing and healthcare is provided.
- Provide education including opportunities for higher education.
- Provide employment opportunities.
- Collaborate with each other to find an effective joined up response to ensure women and children do not fall through the net of society.
- Conduct fair screening processes for refugees entering Europe and identify any potential national security risks.
Follow more of what we discussed during the blog breakfast - #bgrefugeecrisis
You may notice that I recently updated my blog. I hope you enjoy the new format and I encourage you to share it. Going into 2017 I plan to make it more of a hub for resources and insights into the challenges facing women and children across the world. If you aren't already signed up to receive my updates then please do here.
It is an uncertain time, which means it is even more important to unite and support each other and those who need our help across the globe. Let's not let generations slip through the net and suffer any longer.
Enjoy the holidays and I look forward to keeping in touch in 2017.