Saturday, July 23, 2022

No more hierarchy of human suffering.

 Although one of the world’s most high-profile humanitarian crises, Yemen is now severely underfunded and at risk of joining the long list of countries neglected by world leaders. Donors had pledged less than a quarter of the aid needed by these war-ravaged communities to simply survive.

Each year, the Norwegian Refugee Council publishes its report on the top ten most neglected displacement crises in the world. For the coming year, this list will likely see a race to the bottom as previously headline-hitting crises such as Yemen and Syria become increasingly overshadowed by the needs in Europe, driven by the war in Ukraine. 

The response to the devastating war in Ukraine has demonstrated the gap between the immense support that can be generated when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for millions of people suffering in silence and on the brink of being forgotten.

In a matter of hours, the UN’s Ukraine appeal was almost fully funded, politicians mobilised, the public around the world donated record amounts, and newspapers ran front page after front page reporting the horrors of the unfolding war.

This strong reaction to a conflict happening within Europe which has uprooted 14 million people, and has vast global consequences, is human and understandable. 

But seldom has the selectivity of the world’s attention been so striking.

 Ukrainians bear striking similarities to those Yemenis, Syrian refugees in Jordan, or Afghans who have fled to Iran. These people and the millions of others chronically ignored around the world have also been forced from their homes and they all deserve support. There is no hierarchy of human suffering. The glaring gap between the response to the Ukraine crisis and the meagre support offered to many of the world’s neglected crises is undeniable.

The number of people displaced around the world has reached 100 million – a record high.

Countries must avoid devastating cuts to their humanitarian budgets as we have seen in the UK, or redistributing already limited funding away from crises countries to support the local hosting of Ukrainians as we have seen in Sweden, Denmark and in Norway. Instead, it is imperative that the world's richest nations – which have the ability to fully fund all UN humanitarian appeals overnight if they wish – increase their support across the board. Aid must be allocated based on need rather than based on perceived national interest or the level of media coverage.

Adapted and abridged from here

Ukraine response shows what’s possible for world’s most neglected (

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