UN refugee chief hails Latin American efforts to boost refugee protections

“In a worldwide context of restrictive asylum policies and erosion of protection principles, it is encouraging to see that countries in Latin America are committed to uphold high protection standards,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers told a meeting yesterday in Mexico City commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.Senior officials from all over Latin America as well as experts and leaders from civil society reaffirmed the relevance and endurance of the Declaration, a landmark document that offered an innovative approach to refugee protection and solutions and broadened the refugee definition applied in the region.They adopted a new plan of action that includes boosting Latin America’s capacity to protect refugees by training key decision makers and developing refugee law and doctrine specific to the region.It confronts two main aspects of the refugee situation in Latin America today – an increasing number of refugees concentrated in urban centres and the large number of Colombians displaced by decades of war in need of protection who remain invisible and vulnerable in the border areas of neighbouring countries.Projects will be developed to help refugees, particularly women, in urban centres to become self-sufficient; to provide documentation, legal status and basic assistance to Colombians in need of protection; and to build regional refugee resettlement programmes mainly for Latin American refugees.”Cartagena’s pragmatic and solution-oriented spirit is as relevant today as it was when adopted in 1984,” Mr. Lubbers said, noting its emphasis on core human rights principles and durable solutions, including local integration, with its recommendations to grant refugees social, economic and cultural rights.”I am convinced that this is one of the most important long-term contributions of Cartagena: recognizing that refugees are human beings with dignity, whose first concern is to attain a level of self-sufficiency and to avoid dependence on hand-outs and humanitarian assistance,” he added. read more

Flood hit communities plead for food medicines as waters recede

Residents of the flood hit Potaro Siparuni, Region Eight are calling on the authorities and kind-hearted Guyanese to reach out and assist them with some basic food and medical supplies. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related This resident is trying to prevent his clothes from being destroyed by the flash flooding in Region 8Speaking with INews today (May 19, 2017) Michael Mc Garrell of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) reported that the water has begun receding which has since given rise to fear of water-related diseases affecting persons.The APA, he said, has already dispatched, today, a planeload of basic food, medical and other cleaning supplies.He said too the APA has already dispatched staff on the ground in the affected areas to better coordinate a response.Asked about assistance provided by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Mc Garrell told this publication he is only aware of a flyover which was conducted.He questioned why the CDC team did not land since the airstrips are dry and further the teams doing the flyover were at extremely high altitudes.Mc Garrell told INews: “we are not aware of any efforts by the CDC to take in supplies into the affected communities”.The Potaro River began over-topping yesterday after three days of continuous rainfall in the hinterland region.Several houses were quickly inundated with reports of one such building being completely washed away by the flash floods.The communities most affected include Kaibarupai, Sand Hill, Chenapau and Waipa.Kaibarupai according to press reports, is the hardest hit, with landslides leading to over-topping of the Ireng River too. read more