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Policy Brief: COVID-19 and People on the Move

UNITED NATIONS
June 2020

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COVID-19 leaves few lives and places untouched. But its impact is harshest for those groups who were already in vulnerable situations before the crisis. This is particularly true for many people on the move, such as migrants in irregular situations, migrant workers with precarious livelihoods, or working in the informal economy, victims of trafficking in persons as well as people fleeing their homes because of persecution, war, violence, human rights violations or disaster, whether within their own countries — internally displaced persons (IDPs) — or across international borders — refugees and asylum-seekers.

 

The disproportionate impact of the COVID19 pandemic on people on the move presents itself as three interlocking crises, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities: a health crisis; a socio-economic crisis and a protection crisis.

 

This Policy Brief offers four basic tenets to guide collective response:

  • Exclusion is costly in the long-run whereas inclusion pays off for everyone
  • The response to COVID-19 and protecting the human rights of people on the move are not mutually exclusive
  • No-one is safe until everyone is safe
  • People on the move are part of the solution

COVID-19 in humanitarian contexts: no excuses to leave persons with disabilities behind! Evidence from HI's operations in humanitarian settings

HUMANITY & INCLUSION (HI)
June 2020

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This collection and review of evidence aims to illustrate how the COVID-19 crisis triggers disproportionate risks and barriers for persons with disabilities  (men, women, boys and girls) living in humanitarian settings. It highlights recommendations for humanitarian actors, to enhance inclusive action, aligned with existing guidance and learnings on disability inclusion. It is based on evidence, including testimonies, collected by HI programs in 19 countries of intervention. Special efforts were made to reflect the voices of persons with different types of disabilities, genders and ages, residing in different geographical areas and living circumstances, including refugee and internally displaced persons’ settlements and hostcommunities.

 

Evidence has been collected through primary data collection among HI teams and partners, working in countries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in April/May 2020. Data was extracted from assessments conducted by HI and partners in Bangladesh, Egypt, Haïti, Indonesia, Philippines, Jordan, Lebanon, Somaliland and Togo. Testimonies from affected communities, staff and partners were collected in Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Somaliland, South Sudan, Rwanda, Thailand, Uganda and Yemen.  

 

Displaced persons with disabilities face additional challenges to protect themselves and their families and barriers to access services, in camps that were not built for COVID-19

COVID-19 Preparedness and response protection of groups at disproportionate risk – Yemen

PROTECTION CLUSTER YEMEN
May 2020

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Steps are described that support the implementation of mitigation measures to help prevent, reduce and respond to risks of exclusion and/or disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups. The mitigation measures aim to promote the protection of all groups during the pandemic (throughout the various phases of prevention and response) and contribute to alleviating the impact of the changing dynamics on the protection environment of the most vulnerable.

 

Groups highlighted to be at disproportionate protection risk include internally displaced people (IDPs) in IDP hosting sites, Muhamasheen (marginalized communities), refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, people with disabilities, women and girls

Death sentence to civilians: The long-term impact of explosive weapons in populated areas in Yemen

BOTTOMLEY, Alison
SALAVERT, Lise
et al
May 2020

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In five years of war, Yemen has experienced every manner of explosive weapons—aerial bombs and missiles, artillery, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and much more. The explosions destroy bridges, ports, roads, hospitals, water systems, and generate long lasting civilian harm. When explosive weapons strike roads and bridges, they greatly increase the time it takes to re-supply cities. Such damage cuts deeply into food and water access, and has negative effects on population health.

The report highlights six case studies, showing the extent and impact of such bombings. One case study looks at the long-term impact on specific populations including: internally displaced persons; persons with disabilities; women and children.

Operationalizing standards: Sphere and the COVID-19 response in camp settings

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONALS IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION (PHAP)
April 2020

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In this webinar, organized by the CCCM Cluster and PHAP, we learn about COVID-19 prevention measures critical to the work of Camp Managers and others working in displacement settings. We hear from WASH specialists, as well as experienced Camp program staff who have recently been involved in setting up special measures to prevent the spread of disease and develop key messages for populations living in temporary settlements. A representative from Sphere also provided guidance for how the Sphere Handbook can be a useful tool for practitioners in this situation.

Interim Guidance: Scaling-up COVID-19 outbreak readiness and response operations in humanitarian situations. Including camps and camp-like settings Version 1.1

IFRC
IOM
UNHCR
WHO
April 2020

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It is of extreme importance from a protection, human-rights and public health perspectives, that people affected by humanitarian crises are included in all COVID-19 outbreak readiness and response strategies, plan and operations. There is a strong public health rationale to extend all measures to everyone, regardless of status and ensuring inclusiveness. This Interim Guidance addresses specific needs and considerations required in humanitarian situations, including camps and camp-like settings and the surrounding host communities, in scaling-up readiness and response operations for the COVID-19 outbreak through effective multi-sectoral partnership

COVID-19 and International Humanitarian Law

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC)
March 2020

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International humanitarian law (IHL) is a key legal framework that provides crucial safeguards to people affected by armed conflicts. This overview summarizes some of the main provisions of IHL that may be particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic

Agenda for Humanity

OCHA
2020

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The Agenda for Humanity sets out five major areas for action and change, the 5 Core Responsibilities, that are needed to address and reduce humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability, and 24 key transformations that will help achieve them.

Yemen: War and exclusion leave millions of people with disabilities in the lurch

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
December 2019

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Entering its fifth year, the conflict in Yemen, which has been marked by serious violations and crimes under international law, has had a disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities. Based on 96 interviews, this report documents how the war has affected the ability of 53 persons with disabilities,  31 of whom were displaced, to access and equally enjoy their human rights.  This report documents how persons with disabilities have endured unequal access to quality health services, education and employment opportunities as well as the challenges they face fleeing violence and living in displacement

Unimproved water sources and open defecation are associated with active trachoma in children in internally displaced persons camps in the Darfur States of Sudan

MACLEOD, C K
October 2019

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To estimate the proportion of children with trachomatous inflammation—follicular (TF) and adults with trachomatous trichiasis (TT) in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the Darfur States of Sudan and to evaluate associated risk factors. 

A random-effects hierarchical model was used to evaluate factors associated with TF and TT. Thirty-six IDP camps were represented in the survey data in which 1926 children aged 1–9 years were examined, of whom 38 (8%) had TF. Poor sanitation, younger age and living in a household that purchased water from a vendor were associated with TF in children aged 1–9 years.

 

Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2019 Oct 11;113(10):599-609

DOI:10.1093/trstmh/trz042

Manual on community-based mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies and displacement

SCHININA, Guglielmo
Ed
July 2019

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This manual aims to facilitate mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) experts and managers in designing, implementing and evaluating community-based MHPSS (CB MHPSS) programmes, projects and activities for emergency-affected and displaced populations in humanitarian settings. It is specifically designed to support managers and experts hired by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). However, it can also be used, in its entirety or in some of its components, by MHPSS experts and managers working for IOM’s partners, including international and national governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), countries, donors and civil society groups.

 

The first chapter introduces concepts, models and principles of CB MHPSS work; the other chapters are operational and programmatic. These chapters are of two types: •

 

Those that have to do with the process of a CB MHPSS programme: 

Engaging with communities; - Assessing and mapping; - Psychosocial mobile teams; - Technical supervision and training; - Monitoring and evaluation; - Plus two annexes on coordination and ethical considerations. •

 

Those that introduce specific CB MHPSS activities: - Sociorelational and cultural activities; - Creative and art-based activities; - Rituals and celebrations; - Sport and play; - Non-formal education and informal learning; - Integration of mental health and psychosocial support in conflict transformation and mediation; - Integrated mental health and psychosocial support, and livelihood support; - Strengthening mental health and psychosocial support in the framework of protection; - Counselling; - Community-based support for people with severe mental disorders.

Need to know guidance: Working with persons with disabilities in forced displacement

UNHCR
2019

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In situations of forced displacement, persons with disabilities have the same rights and basic needs as others and face the same challenges as other individuals. They also face particular protection risks such as heightened risk of violence, exploitation and abuse, as well as high levels of stigma.  Guidance is given concerning the application of an age, gender and diversity approach, to achieve protection, assistance and solutions. Example approaches are provided concerning: non discrimination; changing attitudes about disability and promoting respect for diversity; Improving identification and data collection; making all facilities physically accessible; ensuring accountability mechanisms are inclusive; preventing and responding to violence and abuse; and building links with organizations of persons with disabilities & other national and local actors.

Multi-purpose cash and sectoral outcomes: a review of evidence and learning

HARVEY, Paul
PAVANELLO, Sara
et al
May 2018

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This report provides a summary of key findings of multi-purpose cash investments in multiple sectors. 

Growing attention to multi-purpose cash offers an exciting opportunity to redress a long-standing shortcoming of humanitarian response. There is a need to better understand and respond to crisis-affected people in a more holistic and coherent way, going beyond sectors to bring the emphasis back to how people live and perceive and prioritize their needs. Multi-purpose cash opens up possibilities for enhanced collaboration among technical sectors and between cash and sector experts. Sectoral expertise should be more adequately represented in multi-sectoral assessments, design, implementation and monitoring of multi-purpose cash.

Mental health assessments in refugees and asylum seekers: evaluation of a tablet-assisted screening software

MORINA, Naser
et al
October 2017

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Mental health problems resulting from persecution and forced migration are very common among refugees and asylum seekers and evolve into a major public health challenge. Language barriers often prevent timely access to appropriate health care, leading to chronic trajectories and abortive social integration. Tools for multilingual screening and assessment could be of great benefit for this particularly vulnerable population as well as for policy makers. This study aimed at testing the reliability, feasibility and usability of the Multi-Adaptive Psychological Screening Software (MAPSS), a newly developed Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview Software (ACASI) for touchscreen devices, for screening purposes in a clinical setting. In a randomized cross-over design including both MAPSS and paper-pencil clinician-administered interviews, 30 treatment-seeking refugees completed clinical measures and a feasibility questionnaire to rate the user interface of MAPSS. Five professionals performed given tasks in MAPSS and completed usability questionnaires for the administration interface.

Conflict and Health 2017 11:18

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-017-0120-2

Everywhere the bombing followed us. Forced displacement and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Perspectives of Syrian women refugees in Lebanon

BEAUJOLAIS, Aurelie
September 2017

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Based on a survey of 205 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and in-depth interviews with 14 Syrian women refugees originally from different towns and cities in Syria, and additional research, this study confirms that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas drives multiple forced displacements and induces a pattern of displacement that increases the vulnerability of civilians. Quantitative data collected during the survey confirms the correlation between multiple forced displacements and the use of the explosive weapons, as almost half of all respondents had been internally displaced prior to seeking external refuge in Lebanon, with an average of 3 internal displacements within their own city. The women interviewed highlighted the deprivation induced by forced displacement. 

State of the world’s emergencies : a briefing for new UK parliamentarians

BOND HUMANITARIAN GROUP
BOND CONFLICT POLICY GROUP
July 2015

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“The briefing is designed to give incoming members of parliament a rapid overview of some of the world’s most fragile situations and highlight actions which key influencers can take to ensure the UK government most effectively delivers on its moral and political responsibilities. Beginning with summaries of key issues we face as agencies working in humanitarian crisis and conflict settings, the briefing then focuses on short summaries of 10 fragile situations and emergencies”

Note: the information is accurate to the middle of April 2015

Responding to the Syrian health crisis : the need for data and research

COUTTS, Adam
et al
March 2015

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This article assesses the impact of the war in Syrian the context of the health system and neighbouring countries and the rise in non-communicable diseases. The authors advocate that  urgent policy and research attention needs to be given to the generation of timely and high-quality evidence on the effectiveness of the humanitarian health response, the capacity of health systems within Syria, and the issue of non-communicable diseases among internally displaced people and refugees

The Lancet, Vol 3, Issue 3, PE8-E9, Mar 01, 2015

 

 

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