CUAI Michaelmas 2016 Campaign for Syria Relief

During the month of November, CUAI held a daily social media campaign to raise money for Syria Relief.

Syria Relief is a charity providing emergency medical care, food aid and education for those 7.6 million internally displaced by the conflict, thus helping to reduce the mass migration from Syria. Overall, we raised 125.55 pounds.

Every day, we would post a statistic about the refugee crisis, which the UN has determined is the largest since WWII, followed by a link to our fundraising page. These statistics were contributed each by a different member of the university-wide group, and the donations by both members and supporters of the cause. The participation from the entire university, as well as the awareness-raising from those who follow us on social media world-wide, is part of what makes Amnesty an effective organization-by encouraging participation, and through education, we are able to influence opinion and bring light to the issues featured.

The campaign culminated in a candlelight vigil, where members of Amnesty got together and led a procession around Cambridge town center, a visible demonstration of solidarity making use of the well-known Amnesty candle logo. The procession ended at Clare College Chapel, where we were met by musicians and hot drinks. Each participant was invited to read out a statistic to be put in a video (forthcoming) of the entire campaign, a lasting product to commemorate CUAI’s efforts, but more importantly, a permanent artifact to raise awareness of the refugee crisis.

One in five people in Lebanon are refugees.

2 million asylum applications were processed worldwide this year, with Germany receiving the most applications.

Yusra Mardini is a Syrian refugee who swam for 3 hours to push a sinking boat to safety, saving innocent lives. This summer, she competed as a swimmer at the Rio Olympics!


1 in every 4 refugees worldwide are Syrian. Subsequently, the UNHCR claim the crisis in Syria to be “The great tragedy of this century”

Asylum seekers in the UK usually have no say in where they live, are not allowed to work, and often have to survive on only £5 a day.


It’s estimated that of 1,500 of what the U.N. calls “grave violations” against children in 2015, more than 60% were children being killed or maimed thanks to explosions. More than a third of them were killed on their way to or from school.


The Mare Nostrum operation was aimed at preventing migrant boats disasters. The operation saved around 70,000 lives before being dismantled in 2014 and replaced with the relatively ineffective Operation Triton, which focused on border protection rather than search and rescue.


86% of Syrian refugees in urban areas in Jordan are living below the local poverty line.


The United Nations lists more than 9 million Syrians as refugees and internally displaced peoples, making it the largest current refugee crisis in the world.


Last year, one person died for every 269 people that made it across the Mediterranean. This year, it is one per 88 people.


There are currently 11 ‘Immigration Detention Centres’ in the UK. In 2015 around 32,400 migrants were detained in these high security centres, including 110 children. Detention is indefinite, and detainees generally don’t know when they will be released, if they will be granted asylum, or if they will be deported.


Amnesty International estimates 12.8 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria.


Funding shortages mean that the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon receive just $13.50 per month, or less than half a dollar a day, for food assistance


In September 2016 a 14 year old boy was killed trying to reach the UK from Calais to join his family, despite having a legal right to asylum in the UK.


The UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that over 1.15 million refugees required immediate resettlement globally in June 2015, a 22% increase from the previous year and 67% from two years earlier. This number has only increased.


Of 7,810 applications for asylum, 29% of initial decisions in Q2 2016 were to grant asylum, compared with 38% in Q2 2015.


“Roughly one million refugees fled Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and made their way to Europe last year. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates the incoming refugee rate to be 17 percent higher this year with the death toll of those trying to seek refuge up by more than 15 percent.”


According to the U.N., more than half of all Syrian refugees — roughly 2.5 million — are under the age of 18. Most have been out of school for months, if not years. About 35,000 school buses would be needed to drive every young refugee back to Syria.


On the 19th of September 2016, the UN held a Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Here, Mohammed Badran, representing Syrian Volunteers in the Netherlands, urged world leaders to act and find a solution to help refugees who are ‘living on the edge of hell’.


The UK had pledged to accept only 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, which would be 4 families per parliamentary constituencies over 5 years. It now looks like the UK will not even make this meager figure.


‘Where conflict erupts, the effects on countries with effective and established educational systems can be disastrous. The violence in Syria is a case in point: whereas in 2009, 94 per cent of Syrian children attended primary and lower secondary education, by June 2016 only 60 per cent of children did so, leaving 2.1 million children and adolescents without access to education.


Solving the refugee crisis starts with one clear statement: I welcome refugees. Amnesty International is tackling one of the worst humanitarian emergencies of our time, and you can make a difference too. Over 22 thousand people have taken the pledge to stand up for refugees’ rights, but over 7 thousand are still needed. It takes less than 2 minutes, and is an opportunity to make an impact easily, quickly and effectively.


Since the conflict in Syria began in 2011, 4.1 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country. A further 7.6 million have have been displaced within Syria, meaning that in total over half of Syria’s population of 23 million people have been driven from their homes.


In 2015, 54% of the world’s 21.3 million refugees came from just three countries: Syria (4.9 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), and Somalia (1.1 million).


The UNHCR estimates that of the refugees and migrants arriving in Europe by sea in 2015, 25% were children.

In June 2016, the UK Government was supporting 37,000 asylum seekers and their dependants. The live of these asylum seeks is by no means easy, they are faced with limited choices other their lives – they have no say in where they live, they can’t access employment and are often expected to live on only £5 a day.


Unaccompanied children are far less likely than adults to be granted refugee protection. Overall, 34% of decisions on asylum applications were specifically grants of asylum, compared to just 27% for separated children. Instead, many separated children are granted short term leave to remain which expires after 2.5 years.


According to the UNHCR, by the end of June 2016 just over 2,800 Syrian refugees had arrived in the UK out of the 20,000 that David Cameron promised to resettle by 2020 in September last year. Authorities insist that the UK is still on track to deliver this promise, but it is clear that ongoing support and help with this resettlement is needed.


Refugees from Syria numbered 378,000 in 2015, accounting for 29% of all of Europe’s asylum seekers – the highest share of any nation. This was up from 125,000 in 2014 and is only going to keep rising.


On average 24 people worldwide were displaced from their homes every minute of every day during 2015 – some 34,000 people per day. This compares to 30 per minute in 2014 and 6 per minute in 2005.

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