Tag Archives: UNHCR

March into madness – European chaos, and a tentative Syrian ceasefire

February 29 2016 was not the greatest day in European history. Fewer than two months into the new year, and just six months since the last time a European government’s police fired on unarmed men, women and children at its border, desperate people fleeing violence and terror had, once again, cast the world’s richest political bloc into political, legal and practical chaos. In its West, police fired teargas at refugees at the Jungle camp, near … Continue reading

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 Money, mayhem and murder: Syria and a week of ‘progress’

‘…the anguish of each belongs to us all…’ Primo Levi, The Girl of Pompeii             ‘We need a no-fly zone. We need it to survive… People are thinking about managing the conflict, not ending it.’ Marcelle Shehwaro, Kesh Malek (Aleppo-based NGO) The first week of February 2016 may turn out to have been the most important for Syria since the start of the state’s civil war in March 2011. Sadly, … Continue reading

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Routine Atrocity: Death at sea, in Syria, Libya and beyond…

The song Nature Boy by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds begins with the protagonist watching the news and seeing: ‘…ordinary slaughter, I saw some routine atrocity’. The point is reasonably clear – that faced with continual exposure to the horrendous, even the worst things we could possibly imagine become somehow run-of-the mill, or commonplace. I only mention it because in a conversation with my partner yesterday I almost – though not quite – answered … Continue reading

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Reality check: Europe, Libya, refugees and the nature of truth…

The third section of this four-part blog, all of which was written on Saturday 23 January, deals with the United Nations’ proposal for a ‘Government of National Accord’ which is – as I point out – not a government, not ‘national’ in the sense of belonging to or being ‘Libyan’, and is not the focus of any ‘accord’ within Libya. Today (Monday 25th January), the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) – one of Libya’s two … Continue reading

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Too little: and how it can be better than too much

On Friday, the EU announced an agreement which had apparently taken ‘until the early hours’ to achieve: it would care for 60,000 people who had fled war, terror, poverty and unnecessary death. It’s hard to imagine how this could possibly have taken so long, for several reasons. First, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has asked that every state in the developed world should take 20,000 Syrian refugees (the UK has taken 187. … Continue reading

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