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  1. #1
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    Default Refugees, Migrants and helping (Merged Thread)

    TechNewsWorld, 8 Apr 08: The Whole World Is Watching: Google Shines Light on Refugee Camps
    Google and the UN High Commission for Refugees -- the United Nations agency responsible for tracking and caring for refugees from the world's conflicts -- unveiled a Web-based mapping tool Tuesday meant to help raise awareness of displaced populations.

    The tool, Google Earth Outreach, will help to highlight efforts to help millions of people forced to flee their homes because of war and other conflicts.

    Moderator at work

    This thread was called U.N. High Commission for Refugees, even though on a quick glance it covers more than that. Today I have changed the title to Refugees, Migrants and helping (Merged Thread) and closed it. The catalyst was a new thread in another forum.
    Using Google Earth and Maps, the agencies can create multimedia presentations by layering text, audio and video over maps showing where refugee hotspots are located......
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-23-2016 at 08:37 PM. Reason: Add Mod at Work

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pitfalls of a hi-tech fix?

    Sounds like the UNHCR has succumbed to a technological fix and without considering what impact publicity has had in refugee situations. Will graphics really have an impact on Darfur? Yes, the Biafra -v- Federal Nigeria war had awful footage; did it change what happened? No. The Pakistani military action in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was well reported; did the footage affect India's decision to intervene?

    Since the publicity sought appears to be aimed at a web aware public, how effectrive has that been to date?

    Returning to Darfur, will better graphics that lead to greater public protest cause governments to forcefully intervene?

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Sounds like the UNHCR has succumbed to a technological fix and without considering what impact publicity has had in refugee situations. Will graphics really have an impact on Darfur? Yes, the Biafra -v- Federal Nigeria war had awful footage; did it change what happened? No. The Pakistani military action in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was well reported; did the footage affect India's decision to intervene?

    Since the publicity sought appears to be aimed at a web aware public, how effectrive has that been to date?

    Returning to Darfur, will better graphics that lead to greater public protest cause governments to forcefully intervene?

    davidbfpo
    David,

    They certainly played large roles in Somalia and the Rwanda saga. Of course such roles in both cases were both good and bad, depending on one's perspective.

    The UNHCR is such a wierd duck to begin with; its charter means that it legally cannot work itself out of business. It does great work in meeting crises but then it tends to sustain those crises and create more.

    In that way it is very much like UN peacekeeping with the exception that UNDPKO relies on donor contingents for forces and that tends to limit interventions in some cases (certainly not all, not even most).

    Admittedly I speak from a jaundiced view after Goma and the UNHCR's role in those camps. But overall it seems like the UNHCR never met a refugee it didn't do its best to keep a refugee.

    Tom

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    But overall it seems like the UNHCR never met a refugee it didn't do its best to keep a refugee.
    UNHCR certainly is an odd duck, but they are also caught up in some even weirder political issues. Consider, by way of example, the need for refugees to have government issued papers in order to claim refuge status in many nations (kind of hard to do in many cases these days...). Consider also the role of the safe third nation ruling that has been adopted by the US, Canada, EU, etc. For many of these countries, the UNHCR acts as a para-government to certify that a refugee is actually a refugee. Furthermore, they make a convenient political intermediary to blame and yet, at the same time, they have almost no actual power at all (look at what's happening in the refugee camps in Uganda as an example....).

    Do they keep people as refugees? Sure they do - the entire system is structured that way and they don't have the power to change it even though I know some of their senior bureaucrats at least want to.
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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Do they keep people as refugees? Sure they do - the entire system is structured that way and they don't have the power to change it even though I know some of their senior bureaucrats at least want to.
    Agree fully. That was the source of the great frustration in the Congo with the camps. Funny that the UNHCR folks inside Rwanda supported closing the IDP camps inside the country--they were not "refugees" so the UNHCR charterv did not apply. UNREO however was against forced closure along with key NGOs MSF inside Rwanda. MSF in Goma support closing the camps in Zaire (Congo). All of this cause gridlock until the new Rwandan government said enough--along with the Tanzanians.

    What is needed is a clause in their charter which says that when a refugee camp becomes a political and then military entity it is then subject to other measures. Of course the big problem in Goma was the proximity of the camps to Rwanda in the first place. Their placement was a factor of the exhausted and dying refugees stopping and refusing to move; later attempts to move them ran into oppostion from the hardliners controlling the camps as well as from Mobutu who of course supported the hardliners.

    Best

    Tom

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Question about Afghan refugee camps inside Pakistan

    Tom:

    Appreciate your UN rules change ideas as in Africa.

    QUESTION: Do you know proximity or lack of proximity of the "in general" Afghan refugees in Pakistan since the Afghan-USSR war? While many have gone back to Afghanistan there are still several thousand, I think, still in Pakistan, having had a few more generations of youngsters in the meanwhile inside the camps so to speak.

    Thanks.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    This April 8, 2008 UN report surprised me, as I just now noted it mentions road blocks in NWFP. There are tribal disagreements mentioned which the off-site private e-mails I still get from the NWFP area tell me that both Taliban and al Qaida fighters are a factor in some tribes trying to seal off their villages at present, for what it is worth.

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    Default Refusing Refugees: Why are We Building Walls Instead of Bridges

    Refusing Refugees: Why are We Building Walls Instead of Bridges

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    Default Refusing Refugees: Why are We Building Walls Instead of Bridges

    Should Migrants Fleeing Gang Violence in Central America Be Accorded Refugee Status?

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    Default On Refugees and Terrorists

    On Refugees and Terrorists

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    Default Forget the Syrian Refugees. America Needs to Bring its Afghan and Iraqi Interpreters

    Forget the Syrian Refugees. America Needs to Bring its Afghan and Iraqi Interpreters Here First.

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    Default Syrian Refugees and Good Strategy

    Syrian Refugees and Good Strategy

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    Default The U.S. and U.N. Have Abandoned Christian Refugees

    The U.S. and U.N. Have Abandoned Christian Refugees

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    Default Fears Growing Islamic State Successfully Weaponizing Refugees

    Fears Growing Islamic State Successfully Weaponizing Refugees

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    Default Trump, Refugees, and the Truth

    Trump, Refugees, and the Truth

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    Three small SWJ Blog pointers merged into this closed thread, prompted by the next post - so the thread has been re-opened.

    Refugees / Migrants have become a more charged issue, primarily with the exodus from Syria and those attempting to enter Europe from North Africa. Especially as terrorists are suspected to have "hidden" within them.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Why camps are the wrong way to help today’s refugees

    Catching up on my reading of 'The Spectator' I found this April 2017 article by Ian Collier, a UK academic, who sometimes has a controversial opinion.

    Here is a "taster" in the second passage:
    To rise to the challenge, we need to combine the instinctive compassion that mass suffering arouses with the dispassionate analysis necessary to craft an effective response. We need the heart supported by the head. The growing humanitarian crisis has come about because we’ve deployed one without the other. Our response has veered between the heartless head and the headless heart, and the results have been calamitous.
    Link:https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/03/...days-refugees/
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Catching up on my reading of 'The Spectator' I found this April 2017 article by Ian Collier, a UK academic, who sometimes has a controversial opinion.

    Here is a "taster" in the second passage:
    Link:https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/03/...days-refugees/
    Firstly, Collier does not truly distinguish between migrants and refugees. The Iraqis and Syrians displaced in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are indeed refugees. But once they decide to seek their fortunes in Europe, they become migrants along with the greater number of welfare migrants who comprise 50% to 60% of the flows across the Mediterranean. Moreover, these migrants care not for the comparatively secure, free and prosperous countries of the Balkans or Central Europe: no, they demand only the best welfare available, which is in the wealthiest European countries. More than 2.6 million migrants crossed into Europe illegally from 2014-2016, and yet 14% of the world’s population still wants to migrate, including a further 170 million to the EU and Switzerland.

    Of course, the “migrants” do not include those who are in UNHCR refugee camps and are accepted and transported to Canada, the U.S. and other countries as refugees. These refugees tend to not have EUR 10,000 for the journey to Germany, or iPhones, and tend to include a more representative proportion of women, children and the elderly, rather than middle-class male draft dodgers and Assad’s gangsters who have grown weary of murder and pillage.

    Secondly, Collier does not explain why Europe is obligated to “help” these migrants, while the Gulf Arab states do not. What of Iran and Russia, who are fueling these wars?

    Thirdly, Collier refers to an obligation to “rescue” migrants. Yet that should entail airlifting tens of millions from Sudan, South Sudan, D.R. Congo and Burundi, as the wars there are worse than those in Iraq and Syria in terms of duration, intensity of killing, overall bodycount, and civilian casualty ratio.

    Fourth, Collier makes unsubstantiated claims that these migrants accept Western social values. The spate of Muslim supremacist terrorism in the West perpetrated by Muslim migrants, refugees and their children, in addition to the sojourns to Iraq, Somalia and Syria, indicate otherwise. It would be reasonable to expect that migrants’ desire for economic change is not necessarily coupled with a desire for social change.

    Lastly, Collier wants the West to integrate migrants into its societies so that they can gain employment and thereby autonomy. Yet I had been under the impression that full employment and improving living standards were the main objectives of all Western governments with regard to their own citizens. Are the unemployed former colliers (no pun intended) of Wales to be sent to the “back of the queue” as Westminster integrates migrants first? There are problems with opportunity and equality in England, and yet it subsidies Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and Britain as a whole already subsidizes the European Union for the moment.

    If these migrants truly want to integrate into a socially familiar society and have job opportunities, why not migrate to the Gulf Arab states, which are reliant upon migrant labor and where some 40 million already want to move to?

    Collier is truly out to lunch...

    Sources include: http://www.gallup.com/poll/211883/nu...0-million.aspx

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    Default To be kind is to be cruel, to be cruel is to be kind: Spengler

    David Goldman at The Asia Times: http://www.atimes.com/to-be-kind-is-...is-to-be-kind/

    From April 14, 2016. Selected excerpts:

    Turkey’s President and de facto dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan last October threatened European officials with 10,000 to 15,000 drowned migrants...“We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses, What will you do with the refugees if you don’t get a deal? Kill the refugees? the EU will be confronted with more than a dead boy on the shores of Turkey. There will be 10,000 or 15,000. How will you deal with that?”

    The leader of a prominent Muslim country who claims to speak for the Muslim world threatened the Europeans with 10,000 or 15,000 Muslim deaths. When in world history has one side in negotiations threaten to kill its own people in order to gain leverage?

    This is the first time in the entire history of warfare that a combatant intentionally set out to maximize civilian casualties on its own side, the better to gain diplomatic leverage.

    The more the West indulges its humanitarian sentiments–that is, its squeamishness in the face of absolute evil–the more calamities will befall Muslim civilians, because Muslim leaders from Raqqa to Ankara have learned to weaponize horror. Staging humanitarian catastrophes in order to blackmail the West has succeeded for the most part.

    What would be required to persuade the likes of President Erdogan that the West will not accede to blackmail? Sadly, the West would have to watch with indifference as horrors unfolded on its borders.

    To be kind is to be cruel: it encourages horrific outcomes staged to manipulate the Western conscience. Paradoxically, to be cruel is to be kind.

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Human smuggling often conjures up images of shady networks run by organized crime gangs, but new research reveals that independent operators rather than criminal kingpins control routes that bring migrants into Europe from Africa.
    More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy, mostly from Libya, since 2014. More than 20,000 are estimated to have died attempting the crossing in the past four years, making it the deadliest border for migrants in the world.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-a...-idUSKBN1FB003

    Initial reports of recent shenanigans in Calais would seem to contradict this assertation.
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...393#post210393
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
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