On International Migrants Day, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt set out how UK aid will help tackle root causes driving people to migrate.
This includes a lack of job opportunities, conflict and instability at a time when 65 million people around the world have been driven from their homes – more than the entire population of the UK.
She unveiled a major package of support to address the needs of refugees and migrants, and in the long term provide people with the credible choice to stay close to their homes. While many of the poorest people safely migrate for work to neighbouring countries, others put their lives at risk.
Forced displacement causes misery around the world and has contributed to the current migration crisis. Last year alone saw more than 5,000 people die at sea while attempting perilous crossings into Europe, and many others die crossing the Sahara desert. In Libya, for example, migrants face dangerous circumstances, exploitation and even modern slavery. Migration driven by conflict and instability overseas will affect us in the UK.
The package includes:
Sudan – Supporting at least 450,000 refugees, migrants and community members every year in Sudan affected by conflict and lack of food, by providing long term access to food, water, shelter and protection, enabling them to stay in their country and reduce the risk of being forced to flee. This support will help those returning to the region and ensure communities are able to cope, including by replanting crops destroyed by conflict.
Tanzania – The UK will provide support for over 460,000 refugees and migrants in Tanzania to meet emergency needs and identify ways for people to find work, so that they can stay where they are and either return home or not be forced to migrate elsewhere. This package will also provide access to land and livelihoods offering long term stability to people and their families.
Libya – The UK is confirming an additional £5 million to provide humanitarian aid and protection to migrants and refugees, some of whom are in detention, as part of the Prime Minister’s announcement at the June European Council. Migrants and refugees in Libya are extremely vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and slavery.
Announcing the UK’s package of support, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
The sheer scale of the migration crisis in the Mediterranean makes it one of the most pressing global challenges we face, and behind the numbers are millions of individual tales of both hope and tragedy.
That’s why UK aid is working to help address the root causes of mass migration by creating jobs and providing education, whilst also supporting vulnerable migrants whose lives are at risk due to a lack of food and medicine, or whose freedom is at risk from traffickers and criminal thugs.
The UK will be directly affected unless we take action now. There is no silver bullet and this approach will take time, but as we continue to create jobs, educate thousands of children and save lives, the benefit of our support for the poorest people and the UK will become increasingly obvious.
The UK is already addressing the root causes which lead people to risk their lives through dangerous journeys through a series of initiatives.
We are giving people more opportunities to find work and build a decent life at home so that they do not feel compelled to leave, whilst simultaneously boosting the economic prospects of the host countries accommodating large numbers of refugees. We are working to secure support for refugee hosting countries and are driving a new “Jobs Compact” with Ethiopia to create 100,000 new jobs for Ethiopians and refugees. In Jordan, UK support has led to 70,000 work permits being issued to Syrian refugees.
Helping those who want to return home
Some people will leave their homes under deception and false promises, and then find themselves in difficult situations, such as in Libya. We are helping these people return home and to reintegrate into society when they get there. UK aid has helped to return 2,200 people from Libya and Niger alone.
Ending modern slavery
Some migrants are at risk of falling into the hands of ruthless human traffickers, for example in the slave markets in Libya. They face forced labour or sexual exploitation. We are supporting victims of these crimes, such as in Nigeria where we are supporting safe houses, victim support and counselling. Across South Asia we are protecting women and girls, stopping exploitation, providing jobs and increasing public awareness of the risks of trafficking so that potential victims are aware of the dangers and better protected.
We are ensuring children, even in conflict, have the chance to go to school and do not miss out on an education. Our support to the Education Cannot Wait fund will provide education to more than 4.5 million children in emergencies such as Chad, Ethiopia and Syria. In Lebanon and Jordan our work to provide education opportunities for those affected by the Syria crisis has enabled over 700,000 children to go to school.
Life-saving humanitarian assistance
When famine and conflict breaks out we provide life-saving assistance, such as shelter, water and sanitation, food, medical care, and protection for vulnerable people so that they can stay close to home. We know that sometimes the most vulnerable need to leave their homes. The UK has also committed to resettle 20,000 refugees fleeing the Syria conflict and 3,000 of the most vulnerable children and family members by 2020.