Driving back over the mountains east of Beirut, the Bekaa valley of Lebanon stretches out behind us. Its green plains and small towns picked out by shafts of sunlight, which are trying to pierce the grey mist of the day. The scene is peaceful from our vantage point, but the mountains we see on the other side are Syrian, and the Bekaa region is home to over 150,000 refugees, with more arriving every day. With the mud of the refugee camps still on our shoes and painfully aware that while we are heading back to the city to get warm and dry those we left behind are not, we reflect on what we have seen:
In one of the informal tented settlements that have appeared and grown in the region we met families living in improvised shelters. The children wore plastic sandals in the mud and told us they have not eaten yet today. Mothers told us of trying to keep families together, safe and fed in the most difficult circumstances. In another camp nearby, a woman asked us whether we have a doctor with us. Her child was sick and although Lebanon is keeping hospitals open and trying to accommodate the influx of refugees, transport and hospital fees can mean healthcare is not available to many.Read more
The trouble with human trafficking is that with all the resources and thought that has been poured into the phenomenon over the years, no one really understands what’s going on. Not governments, not NGOs, not the police, not think tanks… no one apart from the people traffickers, who change their modus operandi like the wind, in order to stay one step ahead.
That’s the tenet of a wide-ranging article which quotes IOM's Denis Nihill, on the hanging nature of human trafficking.Read more
BRUSSELS, 8 May 2013 (ICMC) -- The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) today in Brussels held an awareness-raising, information-sharing and networking conference for civil society, local and regional authorities to promote more resettlement places for refugees and to help improve their integration across Europe.Read more
Hamburg—Faith-based organizations are playing a crucial role in efforts to build a more equitable and sustainable future, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark told a Protestant conference here.
“Many faith-based groups and leaders are already part of the drive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, foster peace and reconciliation, and advocate for climate action,” she said, speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 34th Kirchentag—founded in 1949 as a movement for Protestant lay people.Read more
SANA’A, YEMEN/NEW YORK, MAY 1, 2013—Authorities in Yemen have freed more than one thousand migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia, many suffering from torture and sexual abuse while forcibly held by human smugglers, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has treated the migrants, said today.Read more
April 30, 2013–What will it take to end extreme poverty by 2030? Part of the answer revolves around fragile and conflict-affected situations – “situations” because sometimes otherwise stable countries have fragile regions or provinces. More than 1.5 billion people live in places affected by conflict and extreme violence, where governments can’t fully function, and progress in achieving basic human development outcomes is stalled. The poverty rate is typically high and economic growth low. They seriously lag the rest of the world in progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and are in danger of being left further behind as other developing countries grow and become more integrated in the global economy.Read more
The 10th Annual Skoll World Forum, which brought together several hundred of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs to Oxford, has just wrapped for another year. The Forum serves as a useful barometer for how the climate of social enterprise is changing.Read more
While the world economy struggles to recover, the challenges and emerging issues of the global slowdown have affected developed and developing countries alike. With a focus to address these pressing issues, UN ECOSOC, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held a special high-level meeting on 22 April.Read more
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has hired religious liberty attorney and mother of six Kim Daniels as spokesperson for conference president Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.Read more
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that investigators have been gathering and analyzing available information on alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but access to the war-torn country is essential for a "credible and comprehensive inquiry."Read more