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Help Refugees statement on Turkey abandoning its deal with the EU

Help Refugees warns of potential humanitarian catastrophe and the urgent need to act as Turkey announces it will no longer stop refugees reaching Europe. Ankara has also talked of opening its Syrian border, after 33 Turkish military reportedly killed by Assad/Russian forces.

In the last 24 hours, the Turkish government has suggested it will open its southwestern border with Syria for 72 hours to allow Syrians fleeing the pro-government forces’ assault free passage to Europe, after 33 Turkish military were reportedly killed by Assad/Russian forces. Syrian refugees are already heading to the border point.

Moreover, Turkey is no longer preventing refugees from crossing the borders of neighbouring Greece and Bulgaria, as ‘Turkey can not bear the pressure of the new refugees’. This decision effectively reverses the 2016 deal Turkey struck with the EU to cut the numbers of people entering Europe.

The Turkish coast guard has been stood down; it normally stops an average of 60% of the boats to Greece (where nonetheless over 4600 people have arrived since the start of the year). Turkish media began broadcasting footage of boats leaving this morning; two have arrived already today.

Greek officials said the country is now tightening its sea and land borders with Turkey, including stepping up the coast guard. The land border with Bulgaria at Evros has also opened and there 800 refugees are gathering.

Whether escaping daily bombardment in northern Syria, or the risk of deportation back from dire Turkish refugee camps – it’s hardly surprising that large numbers of people will now attempt this journey into Europe.

The Greek islands, where many of these refugees are headed, are not at breaking point – they are already broken.

Help Refugees Field Manager on Samos, Hannah Green said:

“Camps are painfully overcrowded and lack the most basic facilities. Moria camp on Lesvos has a capacity of 3,200 but holds almost 20,000 people, while the camp on Samos has a capacity of 648 yet is at almost 8,000 people. 60% of these are women and children. The situation is as heartbreaking as it was in 2015.”

Help Refugees partners are working right along the route from Syria: inside Idlib, through Turkey to the Greek islands and mainland Greece. We are in constant communication with them, watching the situation closely and trying to support as best we can.

We are the main funder and umbrella of the grassroots network that is the primary (and often only) response to support refugees in Greece and in particular in the islands, currently supporting 42,269 refugees on the islands alone. Almost 2,000 of this number are unaccompanied minors.

Help Refugees CEO Josie Naughton said:

“We will continue to support, but we are already witnessing a humanitarian disaster. Without urgent action, it will become a catastrophe. Greece cannot be left to deal with the world’s failure to protect refugees alone. European nations must step up to help.”

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We’re hiring! Apply to join Help Refugees as our new Communications Officer

Do you bring together excellent writing and visual design skills, with a flair for creating compelling social content?

Do you have a love of humanity that knows no borders?

Are you a team player with a can-do attitude?

You could be the one we’re looking for.

We are looking for a Communications Officer to join our small and collaborative team in London. Application deadline: 9am Monday 23rd March.

ABOUT HELP REFUGEES

In August 2015, a group of friends started using the hashtag #helpcalais to organise a van full of donations. Within a week, we had raised £56,000 and were soon receiving 7,000 items every day.

We are now one of the largest providers of grassroots humanitarian aid in Europe, and currently support over 120 projects across Europe, the Middle East and US-Mexico border.

Each of these projects is powered by ordinary people who are stepping up where governments are failing to provide even the most basic services. From those keeping rescue boats afloat, to the volunteers distributing tents and hot food, to the brave souls working under the desert sun to place water along the Mexican border.

We also support those working to build a brighter future – the teachers working to ensure refugee kids don’t miss out on an education, the therapists helping heal the invisible scars of war, and the lawyers working to unite families.

Our ‘Choose Love’ brand has been worn by Oprah, Julia Roberts, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and thousands more across the world. Our ‘buy nothing’ pop-up stores in London, New York and LA have raised more than four million and gained headlines in New York Times, The Guardian and CNN. Our founders have addressed audiences including Barack Obama, Sheryl Sandberg and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

ABOUT THE ROLE

 You’ll be responsible for:

Social media

  • Plan and create on-brand compelling content for facebook, Instagram, twitter on a daily basis; includes writing copy, using design tools to create visual content and editing short videos.
  • Ensure that comments and questions on Help Refugees’ social media are responded to swiftly, effectively and in organisational tone of voice.
  • Working with Help Refugees colleagues in Greece and France to source content about our work on the ground.
  • Support the Communications Manager on planning and delivery of exciting content around key moments such as the Choose Love stores and more.

Website

  • Creating compelling content for Help Refugees’ website, coordinating content from others, and creating joined-up user journeys across social and website.
  • Keeping website up to date.
  • Supporting development and delivery of Help Refugees’ new website.

Supporting fundraising

  • Support facebook birthday fundraisers
  • Support individual and community fundraisers on our website
  • Support online fundraising, including supporter emails and social media fundraising appeals.

Other responsibilities as necessary

  • Communications support to Help Refugees’ key moments such as the Choose Love stores, festivals and events.
  • Communications support to advocacy and campaigns.
  • Support on internal collating and storing photography, video and stories.
  • Support media on Help Refugees’ work and the refugee crisis.
  • Other ad hoc duties as required.

Essential requirements

  • Confident communicator with excellent writing skills
  • Excellent designer using tools such as in-design or photoshop; ability to create beautiful and impactful visual content
  •  Basic video editing skills
  • Experience of creating professional digital content to support engagement

Desirable

Ideally you will bring at least one of these to our work:

  • Lived experience of displacement or migration.
  • Experience working in the field of humanitarian aid, refugees or migration
  • A love of social media, particularly instagram.
  • Experience with mobile technology, online giving platforms and website design
  • Track record of using social media platforms to raise awareness, organise and/ or fundraise

ABOUT YOU

You choose love 

You are motivated by a love of humanity that knows no borders.

You are a doer 

You spot opportunities for impact and make things happen. You are comfortable working on scrappy passion projects and longer-term strategic campaigns. A good day is when you’ve done something to change the world.

You are a creative communicator 

You know the world is changed by stories and you want to be at the heart of telling them. You can communicate complex ideas with clarity, powerful stories with passion and understand how to move people.

You are curious 

You know good ideas can come from anywhere and are constantly looking at the world around you for inspiration.

You are a team player

You work best when part of a small, collaborative team. You are happy to muck in when needed and the words ‘not my job’ have never crossed your lips.

You are entrepreneurial

You think beyond the limits of your current role. You take risks, celebrate failure and never stop generating ideas.

THE DEAL 

The role will be managed by the Director of Communications and Campaigns.

It is based out of the Help Refugees office in Somerset House, London, and may involve some infrequent travel.

 The role will be offered as a permanent role with a six-month probation period, starting as soon as possible.

Salary will be in-line with other NGOs.

Help Refugees does not discriminate in employment matters on the basis of race, colour, religion, gender, age, sexuality or any other protected class. We support workplace diversity and believe it creates dynamic, relevant organisations, fostering spaces for innovation and creativity. We are working hard to increase the diversity of our team and encourage you to be a part of it.

We are committed to making our roles and culture inclusive. We can make reasonable adjustments throughout the application process and on the job. If you have particular accessibility needs, please get in touch and let us know any requirements you may have.

HOW TO APPLY 

Please apply with a cover letter (of no more than two pages) outlining your suitability for the role and a copy for your CV to jobs@helprefugees.org.

CVs without cover letters will not be considered.

Application deadline: 9am Monday 23 March.

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We’re hiring! Apply to join Help Refugees as our new Office Manager

Help Refugees Office Manager

Application deadline 9am, Monday 9th March. 

About you

You’re someone who loves multitasking and really makes things happen. You have strong IT skills and you’re a natural organiser who can build systems for managing a wide range of ongoing and ad hoc tasks. You’re comfortable adapting plans and working in a fast-paced environment where things can often change. When you’re faced with tasks and challenges you use your initiative and can-do attitude to work out the way forward, but you also know when to check in with the team.

About the role

You’ll keep both the Help Refugees office and team ship shape, helping ensure colleagues are supported and have the resources they need. You’ll also act as a friendly and effective first point-of-contact for enquiries by email, phone and social media.

Your roles and responsibilities

Day-to-day office management: 

  • Troubleshooting IT issues
  • Acting as point of contact with all office facilities – security, repairs, IT, FOH, cleaners, rubbish disposal
  • Ad Hoc expenses for the Senior management team – COO, Head of Programmes and Head of Partnerships
  • Maintaining an office operational budget to track spending and manage expenditure
  • Maintaining the office environment by ensuring stationery, tea and coffee levels are topped up and plants are watered
  • Creating and implementing office management systems and leading on keeping the office tidy 
  • Managing stock of Choose Love merchandise, collecting additional stock from storage when needed and occasionally ordering new stock 
  • Managing stock of tablets and payment devices and ensuring everything is charged
  • Managing stock of buckets, chargers and simple event signage so it’s easy to send out for events
  • Organising and overseeing couriers and shipping locally, nationally and internationally
  • Hand-delivering items to VIPs 
  • Booking meeting rooms 
  • Taking minutes for team meetings
  • Paying cash and cheques in to the bank 

Acting as a first point-of-contact for enquiries: 

  • First point of contact with the general public representing the organisation’s voice and tone on emails and messages 
  • Replying to emails sent via website, prioritising anything urgent, sharing emails with relevant team members in a timely manner as required
  • Replying to messages and comments on social media in a friendly timely manner
  • Completing a range of other ad hoc tasks, depending on the needs and priorities of the organisation

Salary: 23-26k, depending on experience. Based in the Help Refugees London office, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. Two-year contract, full time role, with six-month probation period. Applications to be submitted by 9am, Monday 9th March. 

If you’re interested in this role, please contact jobs@helprefugees.org with your CV and cover letter. Application deadline: 9am, Monday 9th March. 


Help Refugees does not discriminate in employment matters on the basis of race, colour, religion, gender, age, sexuality or any other protected class. We support workplace diversity and believe it creates dynamic, relevant organisations, fostering spaces for innovation and creativity. We are working hard to increase the diversity of our team and encourage you to be a part of it.

We are committed to making our roles and culture inclusive. We can make reasonable adjustments throughout the application process and on the job. If you have particular accessibility needs, please get in touch and let us know any requirements you may have.

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‘Climate Refugees’, Capitalism and the Australian Bushfires

Harry Sanders is a content writer for the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation of immigration lawyers providing free advice and support to asylum seekers and victims of abuse.

 

As the new decade dawned roughly one month ago, humanity collectively breathed a sigh of relief, hoping at least for some small respite from the global mania of the 2010s. Within a few days, such hopes were quickly shattered by an onslaught of disasters – amongst which are the Australian bushfires which are still raging at the time of writing. The environmental impact of such widespread destruction is unquestionable (it is believed that around one billion animals have died in the fires), but in contrast with the flurry of wildlife appeals, the matter of human displacement has flown – relatively speaking – under the radar.

 

The bushfires presently wreaking havoc across Australia follow the country’s hottest year on record in 2019, with average temperatures 1.52C above the 1961-1990 average. Forgetting the views of the most hard-line of sceptics, this huge rise in temperature is the result of climate change caused by humans and our greenhouse gas emissions. Since the fires began, over 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the south of the country, and their former inhabitants have been made the first ‘climate refugees’ of the 2020s. 

Regrettably, though, Australia is not the first to experience climate-induced displacement. Since 2008, an average of 25.3 million people have been forcibly displaced due to environmental disasters every year. It is crucial to reinforce that these affected people are not simply joining family or taking up employment abroad; they have been forced to leave their homes by a change in circumstances that are in no way their choice or their fault. Thankfully, the UN has recently made it unlawful for climate refugees to be returned to their home country if this would leave them at risk from a climate disaster.

The communities hit hardest by these disasters are, unjustly yet unsurprisingly, the poorest and most rural. A recent IPCC report found that indigenous and disadvantaged populations are at a disproportionately higher risk from global warming of 1.5C and over. Agricultural and coastal populations – which are fundamentally dependent on a stable environment for their way of life – are destined to struggle with the rising unpredictability of our global climate. In fact, it is expected that by 2050 a gargantuan 143 million people from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America will be displaced. 

The present is morbid; the future, even more so. We have known this for so long that it is included in the national curriculum. However, it is still unclear what is actually being done to prevent this future of hellfire and brimstone from materialising. 

In reality, very little is being done for one plain and simple reason: to act on climate change is not in the best interests of anyone who benefits from our global capitalist and consumerist economy.

The biggest culprit is undeniably the fossil fuel industry, with its regard for the future wellbeing of the planet and its colourful tapestry of peoples and cultures always coming second to profit. A now infamous statistic often floated in discussions on climate change is that just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. For example, Shell – a household name – is just one of these companies, and alone is responsible for 1.7% of global emissions for the last 30 years.

Companies dealing in fossil fuels such as Shell quite literally get away with murder, thanks to the greed and carelessness of the politicians which protect them. Australia has one of the worst records in this department due to its status as the world’s fourth largest coal producer, and largest exporter of both coal and liquefied natural gas

As a result, Australia’s fossil fuel interests are protected by politicians and lobbyists who stand to profit from continued coal and gas production. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is one of many politicians who deny Australia’s involvement in global emissions in order to maintain profit margins. In the wake of the recent bushfires, Mr Morrison claimed that Australia is doing enough to limit its emissions

Mr Morrison’s apparent heartlessness in the face of immense death and destruction sweeping his country should not be surprising, as he was also one of the architects of Australia’s troubled and brutal immigration policies. Since 2013, refugees arriving to Australia by boat have been intercepted and sent to detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea where they wait to be processed amidst myriad human rights abuses. Ironically, both Nauru and Papua New Guinea are islands ‘at risk’ from potential environmental disaster.

 

In this new decade, the governments of not only Australia but of all nations face a choice of monumental importance. Will politicians continue to pander to the profit-driven robots of the fossil fuel industry, and in doing so ensure the continued escalation of the global climate disaster and the eventual displacement and death of millions globally? Or perhaps, for once, will thought be given to reason and humanity over zeroes in bank accounts?

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