Global refugees numbers top 20 million
The growing number of refugees is being fuelled mainly by increasing political instability and violent conflict – as well as by climate change, which is forcing more and more people out of their native lands in search of better farm land and water resources.
Islamic Relief is supporting refugees all over the world. Our most significant involvement is with the 688,000 Syrian refugees we are supporting in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. We are providing them with food, water and sanitation, healthcare and shelter, education, psycho-social support and microfinance.
We are also calling on donor and host governments to do more to promote self-reliance for refugees, through sustainable livelihood opportunities and the allocation of work permits.
We have also supported some of the Syrian refugees arriving in Europe, who often struggle to get the services and support they need due to language difficulties and other cultural barriers. We sent our Arabic and Farsi speaking Disaster Response Team (DRT) as translators to the Greek island of Lesvos last year, to assist local volunteer responses to Syrian refugees arriving by boat.
In Sweden Islamic Relief worked with local mosques to provide hot meals and temporary shelter for Syrian refugees travelling through to Norway and Finland. In Sicily, Islamic Relief worked with local churches to distribute hygiene kits and to advocate for refugee rights and protection.
In Sudan, meanwhile, we are currently supporting South Sudanese people displaced across the border by conflict. We are providing clean water, sanitation and other aid in the West Kordofan region.
To find out more about how local faith communities and religious organisations in Europe are supporting refugees, please refer to this brief from the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities – of which Islamic Relief is part – produced for the World Humanitarian Summit.
Islamic Relief is also calling on European governments, including the UK Government, to do more to support safe and legal routes for people seeking refuge in Europe. This includes removing barriers to family re-unification and resettling more refugees around the UK so that we take our fair share of refugees as per our commitments under international law.
As part of this we are supporting UNHCR’s #WithRefugees campaign to call on governments to ensure that every refugee child gets an education, that every refugee family has somewhere safe to live, and that every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community. This petition will be presented to Heads of State at the United Nations Refugee and Migrants Summit in New York on September 19.