Canadian-led organization calls for 'major overhaul' of refugee system
Published Thursday, January 24, 2019 8:12PM EST
A Canadian-led organization is calling for a ‘major overhaul’ of the international refugee system in order to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The World Refugee Council’s 126-page report, released Thursday in front of the United Nations, offers 55 recommendations to change how countries handle refugees, including creating an independent Global Action Network for those forcibly displaced, developing a peer-review system which would put a spotlight on the countries not fulfilling their obligations and implementing financial incentives for refugee-hosting countries.
“We need to pay a lot more attention to the needs of host countries -- host communities in the developing world -- who are bearing the brunt of the current refugee crisis,” Fen Hampson, executive director of the World Refugee Council, told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday.
Hampson said one of the easiest ways to help the developing countries seeing an influx of refugees is to seize the frozen assets of the repressive regimes who are responsible for their displacement, and giving it to the countries that are taking them in.
For example, Venezuela’s estimated US$3 billion in global frozen assets could be repurposed to help their neighboring countries, who’ve accommodated the more than 3 million refugees believed to have left the country.
“One of the most urgent (recommendations) is to make those regimes -- those countries -- that are causing these crises accountable,” Hampson said.
Last week, the council sent a delegation to Ethiopia to meet with the African Union and begin the process of acting on the report.
“The African Union is very keen to work with us on implementing some of our recommendations, particularly around helping women and young girls who are often the principle victims in these crises situations,” Hampson said.
The World Refugee Council says 68.5 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced as of June 2018, the highest number of global refugees since the Second World War. An estimated 40 million of these refugees remain within their own country, however.
The World Refugee Council is an independent organization led by former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy and consists of 24 members from around the world who seek to strengthen the international response on refugees.