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Executive Summary for April 11th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the U.K. stepping up spending on Syrian refugees, a Myanmar minister to visit Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and the ILO launching ‘Glassdoor’ for migrant workers.

Published on April 11, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Britain to Boost Spending on Syrian Refugees and Displaced

The U.K. will increase spending in Syria and in neighboring countries hosting millions of refugees. International development secretary Penny Mordaunt made the announcement in Jordan’s capital, Amman, on Tuesday.

She said Britain was looking for ways to help Syrians in besieged opposition-held areas. The Syrian government has persistently denied access to NGOs to deliver supplies to rebel enclaves.

The U.K. is among the largest donors to the wider Syrian crisis, with nearly $3.5 billion committed to the region.

Syria donors are due to meet later this month in Brussels amid signs of a funding shortfall and donor fatigue. Mordaunt said regional host governments needed hundreds of millions of dollars to alleviate the fallout from Syria’s war.

“We obviously need to keep commitments high … We are here for the long term and we are going to be supporting Jordan and the others who are shouldering a huge burden,” she said.

The U.K. was one of the key backers of the Jordan Compact, a deal under which Jordan agreed to partially open its labor market to refugees in return for a package of subsidized loans and grants.

The compact has disappointed in terms of job creation, but is nonetheless hailed as a breakthrough in managing refugee crises.

Myanmar Minister to Visit Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

A Myanmar minister will visit the Rohingya mega-camp at Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar. Bangladesh says it hopes the rare trip will unlock the prospect of returns for some of the 700,000 Rohingya refugees.

“So many people of his country are here and it’s their moral obligation to see their conditions,” Mohammed Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner, told Reuters.

“His country may want to show the global leaders that they are sincere to repatriate. Bangladesh expects to resolve the problem soonest, as it is a huge burden for this country, which we cannot bear.”

Myanmar’s minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, Win Myat Aye, will speak with Rohingya refugees who fled his country’s military last year.

The visit was announced as aid groups warned of a mental health epidemic in Cox’s Bazar. Focus group research at the complex of refugee shelters found that 38 percent of child participants and 74 percent of adults “felt sad always.”

A Glassdoor Equivalent for Migrant Workers

A new online platform will enable migrant workers to rate recruitment agencies. The venture is aimed at reducing the exploitation of vulnerable migrants.

Recruitment Advisor, set up by the International Labour Organization (ILO), aims to bring the same level of transparency to the sometimes shady transnational recruiting industry that the Glassdoor platform has brought to private employers.

It will provide for anonymous peer-to-peer reviews of existing agencies in a bid to stamp out exploitative practices, such as charging fees that effectively make workers buy their job.

The platform requires governments worldwide to provide a list of employment agencies and trades unions to manage outreach to workers for initial reviews.

“Unscrupulous recruitment agencies take advantage of the lack of law enforcement by governments or because workers are simply not aware of their rights,” said International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow. “It’s time to put power back into workers’ hands to rate the recruitment agencies and show whether their promises of jobs and wages are delivered.”

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