BY Daniel Harkins | June 18 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

10-Order of Malta_Syrian refugees in Lebanon 01  © Malteser  International_Andrea Krogmann

Sovereign Order of Malta calls for better global approach with refugees

Group providing humanitarian aid around the world flags up, before World Refugee Day, the need for more cooperation and better policies to deal with the suffering

Ahead of Saturday’s World Refugee Day, The Sovereign Order of Malta has launched an international awareness campaign calling for humanitarian action to help desperate refugees fleeing conflict.

The order—which works around the world providing health and social care and humanitarian aid—has called for new forms of cooperation between refugees and their countries of origin.

“Present policies are not working and they place refugees at risk,” Albrecht Boeselager, the grand chancellor who runs the order’s international relief operations, said.

“The drama of refugees will not cease over the coming decade. It is no use erecting walls and barriers. Faced with this drama and the desperation of millions of people, we now have to adopt new humanitarian assistance schemes, new forms of cooperation with the countries of origin and which also take into account the asymmetric wars currently being fought by forces that do not represent states.”

An international symposium was held by the Order in Geneva last month, with representatives from a range of United Nations bodies and international aid organisations—as well as faith-based organisations like the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development—agreeing on the urgent need to promote cooperation between states and international organisations.

The order says it will now lobby both for cooperation and for specific policies through participation in the forthcoming World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Istanbul next May, as well as at the preparatory meetings in Geneva this autumn.

The number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide has reached levels not recorded since the end of World War II. In Syria, over four years of conflict now mean that a family is forced to leave home every 60 seconds. It is calculated that every three seconds a person becomes displaced in some part of the world. More than 50 million people are in flight from disasters, wars and famine, half of them children.

The Sovereign Order of Malta—a Permanent Observer to the United Nations—works across the globe, including in Asia where for many years it has helped the Rohingya Muslim minority who are subject to discrimination in Myanmar, distributing medicines, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and food in the refugee camps.

Pic: Malteser International_Andrea Krogmann


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