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Old 04-10-2008   #1
Jedburgh
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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
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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.

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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 09:37 PM. Reason: Add Mod at Work
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Old 04-11-2008   #2
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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?

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Old 04-11-2008   #3
Tom Odom
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Default

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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.

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Old 04-12-2008   #4
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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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Old 04-12-2008   #5
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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.

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Old 04-14-2008   #6
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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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Old 04-14-2008   #7
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Default Afghans go home

George,

I will rely on others to be experts, but I do recall late 2007 Iran announced it was time that Afghan refugees went home and the figures were hundreds of thousands. Coercion was in prospect. I also know that anecdote suggests some of these Afghans are now trying to flee to Europe and claim to be escaping from the Taliban.

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Old 04-15-2008   #8
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Default

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Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
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.

George

Good report on that subject from HRW, one of the better human rights NGOs

CLOSED DOOR POLICY:
Afghan Refugees in Pakistan and Iran


Welcome

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Old 04-15-2008   #9
George L. Singleton
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Default Thanks for your input David

David:

Thanks much for your input.

Here is some info I found on the Internet about both Pakistan and Iranian Afghan refugee camps. I think this source is from the UN.

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=70450

It would be helpful if Iran, which is majority Shiia, would in some pecuniary way help with the cost of reconstruction and other needs today of and inside Afghanistan.

If Tom has some additional insight or info I would be glad to know of that, too. I am very interested in Tom's idea of changed guidance for UN refugee camps worldwide. Proactively that makes very good sense.

Just had an e-mail from John McCain saying his staff are in receipt of and will work with the Voice of America ideas I've been pushing which you have already seen, MOAA article and CBS TV-42 clip. Every bit of help from my perspective is of benefit to our boys and girls on the ground there, as VOA can and should lead to more illiterate population goodwill, that is my hope, anyhow.

George
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Old 04-15-2008   #10
Rex Brynen
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Default on a brief tangent...

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Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
It would be helpful if Iran, which is majority Shiia, would in some pecuniary way help with the cost of reconstruction and other needs today of and inside Afghanistan.
Actually, Iran is a fairly substantial aid donor to Afghanistan, having pledged and disbursed some $570 million in 2002-2006, and another $100 million plus for 2007.

The US is providing roughly $1 billion per year in (non-military) aid, and about $4 billion per year in security assistance to Afghanistan. This, of course, excludes direct US military costs.

Given that the US economy is almost 50 times larger than that of Iran (GDP $13.8 trillion vs $278 billion), Tehran's contribution is actually quite generous--indeed, likely a larger proportion of GDP than most NATO countries are contributing.

(And yes, I realize that had nothing at all to do with UNHCR!)
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Old 04-15-2008   #11
George L. Singleton
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Default Thanks for interpolated numbers

Many thanks to Rex our Montreal, Canada fellow Council Member, for his interpolated fiscal info regarding the value [interpolated] of Iran's contributions to help with Afghan related issues.

I agree with the fact [Rex makes] that Iran is doing anything at all is good news, fiscally speaking.

However, I disagree as to the literal vs. interpolated dollar value of Iran's involvement. Being a theocratic [Islamic] nation Iran has a Muslim duty to do much more in dollar value of assistance to Afghanistan and it's refugees formerly and still inside Iran, in my opinion nothing to do with interpolated dollar values.

But, I have learned from our Canadian friend's observations and in no way mean to be discourteous.

ASIDE: The late Canadian Brigadier General Denis [Denny] Whitkaker [Toronto area] was my late first cousin, Jim Singleton's, father in law. Have you, Rex, read any or all of Denis Whitaker's six books on his experiences in WW II? As you know, Whitaker as a Captain, Canadian Army was involved in and managed to somehow escape from the fiasco at Dieppe on the French coast in 1942.

Here are B/G Whitaker's six books in case any other SWJ followers may be unaware of or interested in reading all or some of them:

- Normandy: The Real Story of How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler by Denis Whitaker, Shelagh Whitaker, and Terry Copp

-Victory at Falaise: The Soldier's Story by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker with Terry Copp

- Tug of War: The Allied Victory That Opened Antwerp by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker

- Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker

- Rhineland: The Battle to End the War by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker

- The Battle of the Scheldt by Denis Whitaker

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Old 04-16-2008   #12
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Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
George

Good report on that subject from HRW, one of the better human rights NGOs

CLOSED DOOR POLICY:
Afghan Refugees in Pakistan and Iran


Welcome

Tom
Tom:

This very detailed Human Rights Watch link/posting is very much appreciated.

George
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Old 04-16-2008   #13
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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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Old 06-27-2014   #14
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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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Old 09-04-2015   #15
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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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Old 11-14-2015   #16
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Default On Refugees and Terrorists

On Refugees and Terrorists

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Old 11-20-2015   #17
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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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Old 11-22-2015   #18
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Syrian Refugees and Good Strategy

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Old 10-07-2016   #19
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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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Old 12-25-2016   #20
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Default Fears Growing Islamic State Successfully Weaponizing Refugees

Fears Growing Islamic State Successfully Weaponizing Refugees

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