Doctors Without Borders
Around the world, states are using the language of refugee law not to address the suffering of people fleeing war, violence and deprivation, but to find ways to avoid helping them.
Barriers and containment will not stop people from fleeing, and deportations to unsafe countries merely returns victimized people to unending uncertainty, oppression and abuse. Let us ensure that our treatment of vulnerable people trapped in the desperation of the global migration system remains dignified.
Every December, we look back not only to assess the past 12 months, but also to find reasons for hope heading into the new year. It's not always an easy task, especially when focusing on Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)'s work on the front lines of humanitarian crises around the globe.
Dollars are desperately needed to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, but they will not stretch very far if the international trade barriers that currently restrict access to essential medicines continue to prevent low-income people and countries from getting the treatments they need.
The current global migration crisis has been exacerbated by governments shirking their obligations to protect people during their most vulnerable moments. States are increasingly disregarding their responsibilities to uphold the rights of migrants and refugees, and are failing to treat them with humanity and dignity.
Despite there being no shortage of reasons for despair, we must start this new year with hope. There is no doubt that the situation in Syria is dire. But just as with Ebola, we can mitigate the dreadful human toll if we retain our instincts for empathy, and remain steadfast in our defence of fundamental humanitarian principles.
For every tragic incident in the world today, there are countless more women and men humanitarians -- changemakers -- making the world a better place in their own respective capacities. Light is more potent and powerful in effacing darkness; let's each of us resolve to spread more light around us, in our communities, and throughout our world.
People don't abandon their homes out of choice, and they are not unaware of the risks they will face along their journeys. It is out of desperation that they flee war and torture, misery, poverty and persecution. Doctors Without Borders delivers humanitarian medical care and sees first-hand the suffering and horrible conditions that drive people to risk their lives for the chance of a better future.
Thousands are dying at sea, in detention and on the way to what they hope are better lives. They deserve more than our empathy, understanding and compassion. They also deserve -- and need -- a helping hand.
I am in Sierra Leone to visit some of the Ebola treatment centres run by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in response to the West African epidemic that began just over one year ago. That the Prince of Wales centre in Freetown, and other Ebola centres are closing is a sign case numbers have plummeted from the historic highs seen in the outbreak.