The UN released US$100 million from the Central Emergency Relief Fund to provide humanitarian aid to more than six million people in nine countries.
Guterres expressed grave concern about the closing of borders to people fleeing conflict and persecution.
31 January 2017: The UN has released US$100 million to provide humanitarian aid to more than six million people in nine countries, while urging all countries to respect international refugee law when managing their borders. The money will provide food, shelter and health care to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Cameroon, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Uganda.
The funds come from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which receives voluntary contributions from governments and other public entities to provide rapid responses to emergencies anywhere in the world. UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the value of CERF to people in crises “that don’t make the headlines, but where needs are just as urgent.”
CERF’s previous annual fundraising target was US$450 million a year, but given the scale of current needs, in December 2016 the UN General Assembly (UNGA) agreed to raise the target to US$1 billion a year by 2018. Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, linked a strong CERF to the promise in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind.”
Guterres said discrimination in border management could be counter-productive if it sows anger and anxiety.
After CERF announced the aid on 30 January 2017, Guterres expressed grave concern, on 31 January, that more and more borders have been closed to people fleeing conflict and persecution. He stressed that refugees are entitled to receive protection under existing international refugee law, and he highlighted the example of Ethiopia, which has kept its borders open to many of its neighbors in need. He stressed that responsible border management against terrorists should not result in any form of discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or nationality, noting that such discrimination could be counter-productive if it sows anger and anxiety, and that “blind measures” not based on solid intelligence risk being ineffective in the face of global terrorist movements.
A UN press release explained that Guterres’ statement was made following US President Donald Trump’s signing of an Executive Order suspending the US refugee programme for 120 days, as well as barring entry of refugees from several countries, including Syria, until further notice. [UN Press Release on CERF] [UN Press Release on Anti-Discrimination] [UN Secretary-General’s Statement] [CERF Website]