With over 65.6 million people being displaced the current level of resources to assist and protect refugees are simply not enough. This World Refugee Day (20 June), we urge national governments to take meaningful actions to resettle a larger numbers of refugees, and collaborate with faith groups in welcoming them to their country. With ever increasing numbers the rights and dignity of refugees are at greater risk.

Islamic Relief’s report: “Justice and Protection for Refugees” highlights key policies and best practice to address gaps in refugee protection. Increased funding, increasing the numbers of refugees resettled, quality education provision, psycho-social support, addressing sexual and gender-based violence and xenophobia are amongst the wide ranging recommendations.

Elements of these recommendations have been conducted in countries such as Canada, Kenya and Lebanon. In Canada, Islamic Relief sponsored a Syrian family for a year to resettle, providing assistance to secure housing, education for both parents and children, building links with their local mosque and providing resources in Arabic and English to help with the transition to life in Canada. The family has since become independent, no longer requiring support.

In the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, Islamic Relief is managing 18 primary schools which cater for over 50,000 children. Improving the level of education infrastructure to cope with the numbers of children has been a key priority, with training over 100 teachers with new teaching approaches, renovation of over 30 classrooms and providing over 2,500 girls with sanitary pads with guidance from qualified nurses to educate the girls on personal development and hygiene and opening the opportunity for continued schooling.

In Gaza, where 70% of the population are refugees, the focus has been the critical gaps in humanitarian support, such as supporting children under five, children with disabilities, renovating schools and providing a social safety net for the most vulnerable families due to the dire economic situation. The current blockade is limiting the access to basic food supplies, school uniforms, or even nappies. One family has even resorted to selling the food they do have to pay rent. The social safety net is there to provide essentials and even home appliances so that food can be kept and stored safely.

On the report, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, Naser Haghamed said:

“Collectively as an international community we are failing refugees all around the world. This is a case where those countries that have the means to support refugees, need to step up and make a commitment to do so. This report shows Islamic Relief’s programmes have shown the wealth of human, cultural, spiritual and social capital that mosques and local faith communities offer to refugees. Governments aren’t expected to do this alone and faith communities can provide a faith sensitive approach to the resettlement of refugees in countries all over the world.”

Notes for Editors

You can find a copy of the report here: Justice and Protection for Refugees

Islamic Relief has been responding to forced migration crises since its beginnings in 1984. It is currently assisting refugees and internally displaced people in 26 countries around the world.

Between 2015 and 2017, Islamic Relief supported over 1.3 million refugees through 140 projects in 26 countries.  The organisation delivers both immediate life-saving assistance to refugees, by providing food, medicine, shelters and clean water, and long-term interventions, for example enabling refugee orphans to attend schools or providing displaced widows with livelihood opportunities.

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