Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

In the last few years, issues of displacement and resettlement for those seeking refuge from war and violence has become increasingly important across the world. Since 2011, the Syrian War has thrown millions of people into a state of displacement, travelling thousands of miles to seek asylum in countries in which they will be safe from war and persecution. European governments, including Ireland, in 2015-16 committed to resettling Syrian refugees in several EU countries through traditional government resettlement programmes. As the years draw on and many EU countries have broken promises or failed to meet quotas, alternative pathways to resettlement and integration are looking more attractive. These alternatives also appear to be more successful in the long term. 

Community Sponsorship is a pathway to resettlement that involves refugees being welcomed directly into a community by a group of people who have already committed to helping them settle in and integrate into the community. The concept was created in Canada in the late 1970s, with 300,000 refugees successfully resettled since that time. It involves a community group who commit to providing financial, social and administrative support to a refugee family (or individual) and give them a helping hand into beginning their life in this community. The focus of community sponsorship, according to Nasc (the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre) is “promoting independence, agency and social inclusion for the [Community] Groups and the refugee families”. Generally, the Community Group fundraise a sum of money, source accommodation for the family, and provide language, healthcare and educational support to help the family integrate. Rather than being dropped into an unfamiliar country, often with an unfamiliar language and culture, forced to start from scratch; the family already have an in-built support system and social group to slot into and begin their new life.

In 2015, Ireland committed to resettling 4,000 refugees through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, of which community sponsorship was one strand. Just over 2,500 refugees have arrived in the four years since the IRPP began. In Ireland, the pilot scheme for Community Sponsorship was launched in 2017 with the first family arriving in Ireland in December 2018. The Al Fakir family from Syria were resettled in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, and quickly became involved in community activities such as the local ‘Park Run’, with their daughter Lorca attending a local primary school. Through community sponsorship, five Syrian families have been welcomed into communities in Cork, Meath and Waterford since the scheme was launched. Unlike people arriving into Direct Provision centres, those arriving into Ireland through Community Sponsorship have already been given refugee status and have been identified as needing resettlement. Community Sponsorship takes the responsibility of welcoming refugee families out of the hands of impersonal government officials and forms, and into the open arms of a community ready to welcome them with support and friendship. 

One Community Group who have made this commitment to welcome a refugee family are the St Luke’s Welcomes group in St Luke’s, Cork City who are working along with Nasc to resettle a family in their community. The group was established in the Spring of 2019, by a few members of the community who realised they all shared a desire to act regarding the ongoing refugee crisis. Several of the members had been involved already with the work of Nasc, while for others this is their first taste of activism. One of the members, Jean, talked about how a leaflet through her door from St Luke’s Welcomes coincided with her watching the emotional RTÉ series Taken Down, inspiring her to act and get involved. The group are in the process of finding a house for the family to rent in the St Luke’s area, as well as fundraising an amount of around €10,000 to help with initial costs and support. One of the group members, Maria, who is also the Nasc Community Sponsorship Project Worker, outlined that this fundraised money would go towards things such as initial rent payments, transport costs, healthcare and dentistry needs, interpretation costs and English language tuition. The aim is that these costs will be taken over by the family once they have social welfare payments or an income, but they take away some of the extra hurdles to integration presented by emergency reception centres, which are often isolated from the community. 

Many members of the group believe that not only is Community Sponsorship simply a superior method than traditional resettlement, but it is particularly fitting for resettlement in Ireland. Ailbhe, a member of St Luke’s Welcomes, feels that Community Sponsorship is particularly suited to the Irish mentality and the welcoming nature of the way we live in communities in this country. She said that Irish people find it easier to get behind initiatives like this which avoid years and years of paperwork, and many people see Community Sponsorship as a refreshingly direct route compared to more traditional resettlement. All the members were surprised and touched by the level of positive response they had received from inside and outside of the St Luke’s community, with people approaching them offering many different forms of support and services.

 In modern Ireland, especially in cities like Cork, we often forget the importance of communities. Initiatives like this help to remind us of the benefit that having a community and support system around us has in helping integration and building relationships. Nasc describes how Community Sponsorship requires “hard work, imagination and […] commitment” and can empower not only the resettled family, but also the community that they are welcomed into; creating stronger bonds than may have ever been possible without it.

 

 

Photo by St Luke’s Welcomes

 

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What Do You Know About Direct Provision?

As the 2020 General Election is fast approaching, why not test your knowledge on one of Ireland’s biggest human rights issues of the last two decades; Direct Provision. Brush up on your facts and figures so you can quiz your local candidates and help keep Direct Provision at the front of the new Dáil’s minds!

Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

Community Sponsorship is a pathway to resettlement that involves refugees being welcomed directly into a community by a group of people who have committed to helping them settle in and integrate. One group who have made this commitment are the St Luke’s Welcomes group in Cork City who realised they all shared a desire to act regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

In the realm of international politics, few world leaders have incited such hope and then despair as Myanmar’s president Aung San Suu Kyi. Amidst allegations of genocide against the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, Suu Kyi has been summoned to the International Court of Justice to answer for her nation’s transgressions.

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

At least 43 people were killed in a devastating fire that spread through a bag factory in the old quarter of the Indian capital New Delhi, trapping workers who were sleeping inside. Authorities say they do not yet know the cause of the blaze but it has been reported that the site had been operating without the required fire safety clearances.

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

Recent investigations from Euronews into the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, in Libya has revealed a culture of neglect. The UNHCR is under fire by human rights activists for its operations in the Northern African state. Many refugees and migrants seeking asylum end up in militia-run detention centres with little to no help from the UNHCR.

What is Russia doing in Africa?

On October 23rd and 24th, Russia hosted representatives from all 54 African countries at the first ever Russia-Africa summit, with the aim of improving partnership and trade links. This event shows that Russia is clearly seeking to further its influence in Africa. But why is Russia so interested in improving ties with African states?

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

 In the realm of international politics, few world leaders have incited such hope and then despair as Myanmar’s president Aung San Suu Kyi. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate rose to power on a wave of hope becoming Myanmar’s State Counsellor, the country’s top office, in 2015. Despite the hopes of the international community, Suu Kyi’s tenure has been marred by allegations of brutal treatment of Myanmar’s minority Muslim population, the Rohingya, who primarily inhabit the western Rakhine state. Amidst allegations of genocide brought by the state of Gabon, Suu Kyi has been summoned to the International Court of Justice to answer for her nation’s transgressions. The dichotomy inherent in Suu Kyi’s championing of civil rights and democracy and apparent blithe indifference to charges of genocide in the face of growing international opprobrium is representative of contradictions at the heart of Myanmar’s politics and, indeed, national and ethnic make-up.

 

            Myanmar, formerly Burma, is comprised of over 100 ethnic groups with the majority Bamar holding the lion’s share of power. The former British colony gained independence in 1948. Su Kyi’s father, Aung San, led the country’s first transitional government, however, he was assassinated in 1947. Held up as a father of the nation and a beacon of democracy, Aung San’s legacy lived on in his daughter’s enduring popularity amongst the Bamar. Structurally, the majority Buddhist Bamar population exist within an effective enclave in the centre of the country ringed by minority groups. Civil conflict of varying degrees between the Bamar majority and minority groups as well as a repressive military junta who seized power in 1962 have long been staples of the country’s political economy. 

 

      Amid increasing international isolation and a dismal economic outlook as well as domestic pressure, in 2010 a pragmatic decision was taken by the junta’s leadership to initiate some degree of democratic reform. However, the levers of power are very much still in the hands of the military and, what’s more, a restrictive constitution stymies any real hope of true reform and ensures a toothless polity. Moreover, as evinced by the country’s dismal human rights record, democratic reform for the Bamar does not imply the same for ethnic minorities within the country. This was the key factor missed by interlocutors who invested such expectation in Suu Kyi. Lastly, the historic distrust between Myanmar’s various ethnic groups, especially that between the Buddhist Bamar and the Muslim Rohingya, who have been held up as scapegoats by influential hard-line Buddhist preachers, all but ensures a policy direction of abuse by Myanmar’s security forces. 

 

       While tensions between the Bamar and Rohingya have alwasy remained high, the current conflagration began in 2016 as a vastly dispropotionate reaction by Myanmar’s security forces to attacks by Muslim militants on police posts in Rakhine state. It has developed into a protracted counter-insurgency operation involving land clearances and large scale round-ups of Rohingya people. Worse still, Buddhist extremists have been involved in brutal mob attacks, rape and violence against Rohngya groups. The crisis has also had knock-on effects creating attendant refugee crises in neighbouring states, especially Bangladesh with more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing to the country as of 2018 according to Human Rights Watch. Furthermore, 128,000 Muslims, mainly Rohingya but including other minority groups have been interned in detention centres within Myanmar. A cautious estimate puts the death toll at roughly 10,000.

 

           As such, while Suu Kyi attempts to defend Myanmar’s alleged atrocities against its Muslim population citing a terrorist insurgency as the primary reason for “clearance operations” against the Rohingya, it is clear that regardless of her true feelings, which remain opaque, there are structural issues and political forces above her. These forces effectively hamstring any effective response from within Myanmar’s de jure government. Suu Kyi, then, for those who advocated for her, becomes a cautionary tale of hope turning to deep disappointment and, ultimately, chagrin. Tragically, the human cost of this lesson is enormous and may not have yet been fully counted.

 

 

Photo by Stortinget

 

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What Do You Know About Direct Provision?

As the 2020 General Election is fast approaching, why not test your knowledge on one of Ireland’s biggest human rights issues of the last two decades; Direct Provision. Brush up on your facts and figures so you can quiz your local candidates and help keep Direct Provision at the front of the new Dáil’s minds!

Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

Community Sponsorship is a pathway to resettlement that involves refugees being welcomed directly into a community by a group of people who have committed to helping them settle in and integrate. One group who have made this commitment are the St Luke’s Welcomes group in Cork City who realised they all shared a desire to act regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

In the realm of international politics, few world leaders have incited such hope and then despair as Myanmar’s president Aung San Suu Kyi. Amidst allegations of genocide against the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, Suu Kyi has been summoned to the International Court of Justice to answer for her nation’s transgressions.

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

At least 43 people were killed in a devastating fire that spread through a bag factory in the old quarter of the Indian capital New Delhi, trapping workers who were sleeping inside. Authorities say they do not yet know the cause of the blaze but it has been reported that the site had been operating without the required fire safety clearances.

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

Recent investigations from Euronews into the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, in Libya has revealed a culture of neglect. The UNHCR is under fire by human rights activists for its operations in the Northern African state. Many refugees and migrants seeking asylum end up in militia-run detention centres with little to no help from the UNHCR.

What is Russia doing in Africa?

On October 23rd and 24th, Russia hosted representatives from all 54 African countries at the first ever Russia-Africa summit, with the aim of improving partnership and trade links. This event shows that Russia is clearly seeking to further its influence in Africa. But why is Russia so interested in improving ties with African states?

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

43 people have died as a result of a fire that broke out in a garment factory in New Delhi while 16 others are being treated for burns and smoke inhalation. 

The fire brigade received the call alerting them to the blaze at 05:22 local time on Sunday, 8th December (23:52 GMT on Saturday). The cause of the blaze is unknown but is thought to have been the result of an electrical short circuit. 

The workers died as a result of the inhalation of poisonous gases. They were sleeping in the factory between their shifts. They were being paid 150 rupees a day (€1.91) and working in extremely poor conditions. The factory, which mainly manufactured handbags, did not have a proper fire license and was operating illegally. The factory owner and manager have been arrested.  

The victims were mostly Muslim migrants from the impoverished border region of Bihar in eastern India. Barbar Ali, a family member of a woman who was rescued from the building, explained that the workers had to endure extremely poor conditions in the factory and they had been seeking better wages. “Their only fault was they were poor. Why else would someone work and sleep in such a congested place?” Mr Ali said

The Prime Minister of India has described the disaster as “extremely horrific” and offered his condolences to family members in a tweet.

It would appear that nothing has changed since the infamous collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in the Dhaka District of Bangladesh in 2013, in which 1,134 people were killed. After this devastating event brands and trade unions signed the Bangladesh Accord, which was intended to regulate the safety of working conditions in these factories by means of inspection. 

However, the garment industry remains dangerous and exploitative. According to the 2015 documentary The True Cost, of the 40 million people who work in the garment industry only 2% are paid a living wage.  Not only are illegal factories with substandard working conditions in operation, but workers in these factories suffer abuse. 

80% of garment workers are women, but the vast majority of factory managers are men, while women occupy low-level positions in factories – a structure which often leads to gender-based abuse. Global Labour Justice published a report last year which gave an overview of gender-based violence which occurs in the factories of H&M, one of the most popular fast fashion brands in the world. 

The reality is that these brands outsource the manufacture of their products to such an extent that it becomes nearly impossible to regulate. On top of that, there is no incentive for them to look into the working conditions in their factories or offer garment workers a living wage while there is no accountability and their profit margins remain so high. 

Today, people are becoming increasingly aware of ethics and sustainability when it comes to fashion, and fast fashion brands are beginning to feel the pressure. We as consumers have to be able to tell the difference between when a brand is actually being ethical, or when they are simply slapping a word like “conscious” on to a product in an attempt to appear ethical without providing an explanation of what that means to them. To put it plainly, if a brand is not transparent about their means of production, it’s probably because they would rather you didn’t know. 

That is why it is increasingly important that we shop consciously. This can start with something as simple as asking ourselves who makes the clothes we wear, and why their exploitation should feed our consumerism. The devastating case of this New Delhi factory which has burned down is not unique. In most cases, the people who make our clothes work in similar conditions, and risk their lives every day in order to make a wage which they can’t even survive on. We have been given the privilege of a consumer vote, and with it comes the responsibility to exercise it correctly.

 

Picture: DiplomatTesterMan 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

What Do You Know About Direct Provision?

As the 2020 General Election is fast approaching, why not test your knowledge on one of Ireland’s biggest human rights issues of the last two decades; Direct Provision. Brush up on your facts and figures so you can quiz your local candidates and help keep Direct Provision at the front of the new Dáil’s minds!

Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

Community Sponsorship is a pathway to resettlement that involves refugees being welcomed directly into a community by a group of people who have committed to helping them settle in and integrate. One group who have made this commitment are the St Luke’s Welcomes group in Cork City who realised they all shared a desire to act regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

In the realm of international politics, few world leaders have incited such hope and then despair as Myanmar’s president Aung San Suu Kyi. Amidst allegations of genocide against the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, Suu Kyi has been summoned to the International Court of Justice to answer for her nation’s transgressions.

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

At least 43 people were killed in a devastating fire that spread through a bag factory in the old quarter of the Indian capital New Delhi, trapping workers who were sleeping inside. Authorities say they do not yet know the cause of the blaze but it has been reported that the site had been operating without the required fire safety clearances.

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

Recent investigations from Euronews into the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, in Libya has revealed a culture of neglect. The UNHCR is under fire by human rights activists for its operations in the Northern African state. Many refugees and migrants seeking asylum end up in militia-run detention centres with little to no help from the UNHCR.

What is Russia doing in Africa?

On October 23rd and 24th, Russia hosted representatives from all 54 African countries at the first ever Russia-Africa summit, with the aim of improving partnership and trade links. This event shows that Russia is clearly seeking to further its influence in Africa. But why is Russia so interested in improving ties with African states?

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

Recent investigations from Euronews into the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, in Libya has revealed a culture of neglect. The UNHCR, which claims it can only register asylum seekers and refugees  originating from Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen and Somalia, is under fire by human rights activists for its operations in the Northern African state. The UN successfully brokered the Libyan Political Agreement in 2015, but since then militias have remained at battle across the state. 

The UNHCR’s mandate is to find a safe solution for refugees. Therefore, the UNHCR’s main mission in Libya is to register people as refugees and find a solution to evacuate these people out of the country and into a safe space. The EU Trust Fund for Africa counts on the UNHCR to ensure that asylum procedures and policies are in line with human rights standards. 

Many refugees and migrants seeking asylum end up in militia-run detention centres with little to no help from the UNHCR. Since September 2018, six detention centres in Libya have been involved in militia clashes, causing refugees and migrants detained to  seek safety again. Abdelnaser Mbarah Ezam, a Captain at the Ministry of the Interior, Government of National Accord in Libya told Euronews that many migrants in these centres are suffering from depression after believing that registering with the UNHCR would guarantee them acceptance into Europe. 

Euronews spoke directly with many refugees who witnessed and suffered human rights atrocities in these camps, while registered with the UNHCR. Testimonies included instances of abuse, torture and extortion. Libyan coastguards automatically re-incarcerate anyone found trying to cross the Mediterrean, due to provisions under an EU and Libyan agreement signed in 2017. One detention centre, Zintan, reported 700 human beings crammed in one room  without access to adequate food or water. This included approx 120 minors. Since September 2018, twenty-two people in the centre have died of TB. 

Protests at Zintan in June 2019 have included refugees showing banners  stating “We are victims by UNHCR in Libya” and “We are abused by a human rights organisation”.

A whistleblower who previously worked for Libya’s UNHCR agency told Euronews that the UNCHR resembled “ an agency overstretched and out of its depth, with asylum seekers left homeless, deprived of medical care and in legal limbo in an increasingly violent and unstable Libya”. The whistleblower also detailed cases of UNCHR staff accepting bribes from refugees in a (failed) effort to speed up their asylum claims. Additionally, an internal audit found that the UNHCR in Libya  had purchased laptops at inflated prices (eight laptops for just under $50,000) and spent almost $200,000 on flights without making use of competitive bidding. 

According to Euronews, refugees were paying money to get inside the UNHCR’s Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli.  One refugee awaiting evacuation explained: “The guards who are working at the gate, brought inside Somalian and Eritrean women; they paid 2000 dinars (around 430€) each. We told this to UNHCR, and they asked us not to tell anyone.”

Investigations like this one in Libya should lead to government action and justice for the victims impacted.

 

Photo by Magharebia on Flickr

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

What Do You Know About Direct Provision?

As the 2020 General Election is fast approaching, why not test your knowledge on one of Ireland’s biggest human rights issues of the last two decades; Direct Provision. Brush up on your facts and figures so you can quiz your local candidates and help keep Direct Provision at the front of the new Dáil’s minds!

Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

Community Sponsorship is a pathway to resettlement that involves refugees being welcomed directly into a community by a group of people who have committed to helping them settle in and integrate. One group who have made this commitment are the St Luke’s Welcomes group in Cork City who realised they all shared a desire to act regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

In the realm of international politics, few world leaders have incited such hope and then despair as Myanmar’s president Aung San Suu Kyi. Amidst allegations of genocide against the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, Suu Kyi has been summoned to the International Court of Justice to answer for her nation’s transgressions.

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

At least 43 people were killed in a devastating fire that spread through a bag factory in the old quarter of the Indian capital New Delhi, trapping workers who were sleeping inside. Authorities say they do not yet know the cause of the blaze but it has been reported that the site had been operating without the required fire safety clearances.

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

Recent investigations from Euronews into the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, in Libya has revealed a culture of neglect. The UNHCR is under fire by human rights activists for its operations in the Northern African state. Many refugees and migrants seeking asylum end up in militia-run detention centres with little to no help from the UNHCR.

What is Russia doing in Africa?

On October 23rd and 24th, Russia hosted representatives from all 54 African countries at the first ever Russia-Africa summit, with the aim of improving partnership and trade links. This event shows that Russia is clearly seeking to further its influence in Africa. But why is Russia so interested in improving ties with African states?

What is Russia doing in Africa?

What is Russia doing in Africa?

On October 23rd and 24th, Russia hosted representatives from all 54 African countries at the first ever Russia-Africa summit, with the aim of improving partnership and trade links. Putin, the Russian president,  pulled out all the stops as host, and after the summit, announced that 12.5 million dollars worth of trade deals had been discussed. This event shows that Russia is clearly seeking to further its influence in Africa. But why is Russia so interested in improving ties with African states?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was an influential player in Africa, supporting many liberation movements and providing financial aid to regimes, often with the aim of antagonising the United States and promoting communism. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moscow’s influence on the continent has waned. Now, Vladimir Putin wants to bring it back.

There are several reasons why Russia wants to revive its power in Africa. The first is the desire to gain back what the Soviet Union once had. Russia wishes to be seen as a great power that can compete with the US and China on a global stage – for example, Russia may be interested in increasing its leverage over African countries to affect power dynamics in the United Nations. In 2014, 29 African states voted against or abstained from a UN resolution condemning Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine. This demonstrates that   increasing its power and sway can lead to clear benefits for Russia. The latter is also extending its power in the Middle East, evidenced by its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Similarly Russia has meddled in elections in multiple countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. 

‘All of these attempts to increase the number of countries in Russia’s sphere of influence signal its desire to exert more power globally and be taken seriously as a global player. One thing that helps Russia in this quest is that some African leaders are attracted to Russia over the US and Europe, due to the lack of conditions attached to Russian aid and trade. While more liberal countries are often wary of making deals with African leaders accused of human rights violations or misuse of funds, Russia, as well as China, is happy to provide help for those leaders, and uses that to its advantage. China has massively increased its involvement with Africa in recent years, while the United States has pulled back. These provide both an incentive and an opportunity for Russia to step in.

Aside from improving its status, there are some material benefits Russia can gain from increasing its relations with Africa. Russia is currently the largest exporter of weapons to Africa and the recent Summit suggests that increased trade links are on the Russian agenda. However, its overall trade with Africa remains small compared to some other countries. There is a lot of room for Russia to potentially expand the amount of weapons it exports to African countries. Furthermore, there are lots of potential business opportunities for Russian companies in Africa, especially in the energy sector. Many Russian state-owned energy firms already have contracts with African countries and are looking to increase these. Russian mining companies also stand to benefit from the rich mineral resources of many African countries. Additionally, Putin has stated that he would like to see an increase in Russian non-military exports to Africa, such as the food export sector.

As well as being involved in trade and aid in Africa, Putin has also increased Russia’s military involvement there, with Russian soldiers being active in several countries, including the Central African Republic and Libya. While many of these soldiers work for private military groups rather than the Russian government, their presence could be helpful for Putin in boosting the reputation of Russia among African countries where those mercenaries work for government forces. These military ties may be increasing soon, as Russia seems to be in talks with the Central African Republic to open its first African military base. This move could have been spurred on by the increased presence of the Chinese military in Africa, who have a military base in Djibouti. The United States also has three bases in Africa. Therefore, if Russia really wants to seem on the same level as these countries it may need to open its own base.

Overall, it seems that increasing its presence in Africa fits into Russia’s strategy of trying to project more power globally in order to challenge the US and China. It will attempt to achieve this by increasing its military and political sway in Africa, as well as hoping to improve its own waning economy by increasing trade with African nations. It remains to be seen exactly what effects this will have on Africa. It could lead to economic gains, but given Putin’s support for dictators and his habit of  turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, if Russia’s influence comes at the expense of that of more liberal countries, it could lead to further entrenchment of these abuses in many countries.

 

Photo by @KremlinRussia_E on Twitter

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

What Do You Know About Direct Provision?

As the 2020 General Election is fast approaching, why not test your knowledge on one of Ireland’s biggest human rights issues of the last two decades; Direct Provision. Brush up on your facts and figures so you can quiz your local candidates and help keep Direct Provision at the front of the new Dáil’s minds!

Could Community Sponsorship be the Answer to Refugee Integration in Ireland?

Community Sponsorship is a pathway to resettlement that involves refugees being welcomed directly into a community by a group of people who have committed to helping them settle in and integrate. One group who have made this commitment are the St Luke’s Welcomes group in Cork City who realised they all shared a desire to act regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Aung San Suu Kyi Denies Genocide at the International Criminal Court

In the realm of international politics, few world leaders have incited such hope and then despair as Myanmar’s president Aung San Suu Kyi. Amidst allegations of genocide against the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, Suu Kyi has been summoned to the International Court of Justice to answer for her nation’s transgressions.

43 People Die In Factory Fire In New Delhi

At least 43 people were killed in a devastating fire that spread through a bag factory in the old quarter of the Indian capital New Delhi, trapping workers who were sleeping inside. Authorities say they do not yet know the cause of the blaze but it has been reported that the site had been operating without the required fire safety clearances.

UNCHR’s impact in war-torn Libya?

Recent investigations from Euronews into the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, in Libya has revealed a culture of neglect. The UNHCR is under fire by human rights activists for its operations in the Northern African state. Many refugees and migrants seeking asylum end up in militia-run detention centres with little to no help from the UNHCR.

What is Russia doing in Africa?

On October 23rd and 24th, Russia hosted representatives from all 54 African countries at the first ever Russia-Africa summit, with the aim of improving partnership and trade links. This event shows that Russia is clearly seeking to further its influence in Africa. But why is Russia so interested in improving ties with African states?