DEVELOPMENT AND HUMANITARIAN NEWS
+ Vaccine roll out dashboard
The above graph shows the rolling 7-day average of COVID vaccine doses administered per 100 people for selected countries.
For more information go to Our World in Data. Also see the new article Tracking Global COVID-19 Vaccine Equity for more on the disparities in the global vaccine progress.
What next for Afghanistan?
First we have to understand what led to the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Sarah Chayes, former US journalist, who went on to work for non-profits in Kandahar highlights these failures in a recent blog:
'Afghan government corruption, and the U.S. role enabling and reinforcing it'
'Pakistan’s support for the Taliban'
The Afghan people have been badly let down by America and its allies, she argues:
“Americans like to think of ourselves as having valiantly tried to bring democracy to Afghanistan. Afghans, so the narrative goes, just weren’t ready for it, or didn’t care enough about democracy to bother defending it. Or we’ll repeat the cliche that Afghans have always rejected foreign intervention; we’re just the latest in a long line.
I was there. Afghans did not reject us. They looked to us as exemplars of democracy and the rule of law. They thought that’s what we stood for.”
The Taliban are promising not to engage in revenge attacks; to not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists; and to uphold the rights of women and minorities – but ‘within the framework of Sharia law.’
For an analysis of what this could look like, go here. Right now, the hope is that Turkey takes over security at Kabul airport, and charter flights are able to continue evacuations.
According to Devex,18 million people are in need of aid, but its unclear how'll they'll access it.
France's President, will propose a 'safe zone' into Kabul for aid to the UN Security Council.
How Covid closed our borders to refugees
Last week CID and the aid sector called for an increase in the quota of refugees by 1,000 immediately to take in more Afghans and their families.
Amnesty International, Oxfam and ActionAid gathered nearly 30,000 signatures in a petition to increase refugees from Afghanistan.
New Zealand increased the country’s annual refugee quota to 1,500 from July 1, 2020, but due to Covid, in the last financial year, New Zealand took in just 211 refugees. This financial year we are again expected to bring in significantly fewer refugees than we committed to.
UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration put resettlement departures on hold for several months at the start of the pandemic.
While these activities subsequently resumed, according to UNHCR only 34,400 refugees were resettled to third countries in 2020. This compares to 107,800 the year before and marks a dramatic 69% decline – at a time when 1.4 million refugees are estimated to be in need of resettlement, which could lead to a refugee crisis.
Local takes on aid neutrality in Myanmar
In the aftermath of the 1 February military coup in Myanmar, neutrality – one of the core principles of humanitarian aid – is being vigorously challenged.
“Asking us to remain neutral is not the way,” said Tun Tun, a staff member at a UN field office in Myanmar. “Of course, it’s easy to remain neutral when the act of injustice doesn’t affect you.”
For some, the coup has turned traditional views on the role of international aid in Myanmar on their head. They’re calling for international agencies to take a stronger stand against the military regime, and to focus on supporting local organisations to lead aid responses.
Haitians wary of international aid
More than 2,200 deaths have been recorded so far after the latest earthquake in Haiti, while at least 30,000 families have had to abandon their homes. Many were sleeping on the streets when Tropical Storm Grace struck the following week.
Despite the hardship, many Haitians are wary of the massive international aid response which is still under way. “We don’t like international aid but it’s not like we have a choice,” says Marjorie Modesty, a community leader in Les Cayes, whose home was flooded and damaged in the dual disasters.
An article from The Guardian describes Haiti’s relationship with aid as long and toxic. “So you get a lot of white people driving around in their white SUVs, not getting out of their cars, and they’re the ones making the decisions about what Haitians need and where they need it.”
International Day of the Disappeared – 30 August
Yesterday, 30th August was the UN Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances (‘Day of the Disappeared’).
The feeling of insecurity generated by the practice of Enforced Disappearances is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects their communities and society as a whole.
Enforced disappearance has become a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world. Once largely the product of military dictatorships, enforced disappearances can nowadays be perpetrated in complex situations of internal conflict, especially as a means of political repression of opponents. Of particular concern are:
Ongoing harassment of human rights defenders, relatives of victims, witnesses and legal counsel dealing with cases of enforced disappearance;
Use by States of counter-terrorist activities as an excuse for breaching their obligations;
Widespread impunity for enforced disappearance.