Govts turn backs on suffering of millions – Oxfam on refugee crisis

Calling on world powers “to do more to help those forced to flee their homes,” the UK-based agency launched a new campaign on Wednesday aiming to push European countries to increase their efforts in helping refugees.

Having accused the governments of indifference, the organization has warned that instead of finding a proper response to the crisis, European politicians are “turning their backs on the suffering of millions of people and in some instances taking active measures to prevent refugees from reaching their borders.”

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Oxfam points out that the recent deal between European governments and Turkey which has left thousands of men, women and children detained in Greece in often appalling conditions, goes against the spirit of international law and sets a dangerous precedent,” the agency said in its press release.

In its ‘Stand As One’ campaign, Oxfam said it wanted to not only “put pressure” on certain countries to welcome more refugees, but also keep them “safe from harm” and not separate families.

The organization has also launched a petition to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, calling on him to “work together with other world leaders at the UN to provide a global solution [to] the refugee crisis.”

Saying that Oxfam wants governments “to seize the opportunity” to finally find such a solution at the UN summit in September, the group’s senior policy adviser, Ed Cairns, told RT that a fair share of responsibility around the world should become the top priority.

The key point to remember, which is often forgotten in debate right now, is that the vast majority of refugees are not hosted in rich countries like the UK or elsewhere in Europe, but are hosted by developing countries and some of the poorest countries in the world,” Cairns said.

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According to Oxfam, some 86 percent of the world’s refugees are currently hosted in developing countries. “We are calling on the rich countries of the world, including the UK but not just the UK, to take a far greater share [of refugees],” the Oxfam official said, adding that within the EU itself there is no balance either.

Other European countries should share the responsibility with Greece more,” he told RT.

The current refugee crisis, the worst since World War II, has already become the “biggest emergency aid effort in Oxfam’s history,” the organization said, adding that it had provided humanitarian aid to nearly 9 million people last year, “the vast majority of whom were fleeing conflict and disaster.”

Over 1.3 million people claimed asylum in European countries last year – mainly fleeing the conflict in Syria. However, soon-to-be-released figures “are expected to show another increase in the number of refugees,” Oxfam said.

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