Ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June, the international aid agency CARE is warning that refugees and displaced people in some of the world’s humanitarian hotspots have received shockingly low support from the international community in the first half of 2022.
CARE is calling on wealthy countries including Australia to step up aid, noting the Rohingya refugee response has only 14% of the funding it needs for 2022, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The food security crisis in Sri Lanka is only 8% funded.
CARE Australia CEO Peter Walton said: “International attention is currently focused on Ukraine, and while it’s so important we continue to assist Ukrainians who have had to flee their homes, we must not forget about the millions of other refugees and displaced people around the world, and those who are at risk of becoming refugees.”
In addition to the Rohingya and Sri Lanka crises, refugee and displacement crises in Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s Central Sahel region and Venezuela and neighboring countries are receiving worryingly low international support.
“While we talk a lot about Australia’s own refugee policies, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of the world’s refugees are taken in by low-income countries,” Mr Walton said.
“Bangladesh, for example, hosts the world’s largest refugee camp, for Rohingya people who have fled Myanmar — it’s the equivalent of the population of Adelaide. And Turkey hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, mostly living in the community.
“Many people who have fled war or conflict aren’t even counted as refugees because they’re internally displaced within their own country.”
Last month the world reached a concerning milestone — 100 million people around the world are forcibly displaced, the highest ever number.
“In addition to wars and conflict, climate change is fuelling the displacement crisis, with extreme weather events forcing people off their land and a scarcity of natural resources heightening the tensions that lead to war,” Mr Walton said.
“Rich countries like Australia must do more to support low-income countries to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change so people aren’t forced off their land and away from their homes.”
CARE is also highlighting the extra risks and challenges faced by displaced women and girls.
One in five refugee or displaced women say they’ve experienced sexual violence, and the true figure is probably much higher given how hard it can be to speak about it.
Camps and services for refugees and displaced people are often run by men, and as a result the needs of women and girls can get overlooked.
Period products are hard to come by, pregnant women lack medical care, and just getting around to go to the toilet or collect water can be unsafe, especially at night.
CARE is calling for more funding to address the needs of refugee and displaced women and girls, and more women in humanitarian leadership roles.
For media enquiries contact Iona Salter on 0413 185 634.