Stories written by Baher Kamal
Baher Kamal is Senior Advisor to IPS Director General on Africa & the Middle East. He is an Egyptian-born, Spanish-national, secular journalist, with over 43 years of experience. Since the late 70s, he specialised in all development related issues, as well as international politics. He also worked as Senior Information Expert for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership at the European Commission in Brussels, and as the first-ever Information Officer and Spokesperson at UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan in Athens. Kamal speaks Spanish, Arabic, English and Italian. | Twitter |

Xenophobic Rhetoric, Now Socially and Politically ‘Acceptable’ ?

“Xenophobic and racist rhetoric seems not only to be on the rise, but also to be becoming more socially and politically acceptable.”The warning has been heralded by the authoritative voice of Mogens Lykketoft, current president of the United Nations General Assembly, who on World Refugee Day on June 20, reacted to the just announced new record number of people displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution.

Xenophobia: ‘Hate Is Mainstreamed, Walls Are Back, Suspicion Kills’

“Hate is becoming mainstreamed. Walls – which tormented previous generations, and have never yielded any sustainable solution to any problem – are returning. Barriers of suspicion are rising, snaking through and between our societies – and they are killers…”

What If Turkey Drops Its “Human Bomb” on Europe?

Will the rapid--though silent escalation of political tensions between the European Union and Turkey, which has been taking a dangerous turn over the last few weeks, push Ankara to drop a “human bomb” on Europe by opening its borders for refugees to enter Greece and other EU countries?

Humanitarian Aid – Business As Unusual?

Big business is most often seen by human rights defenders and civil society organisations as “bad news,” as those huge heartless, soulless corporations whose exclusive goal is to make the biggest profits possible. Too often and in too many cases this is a proven fact.

World Oceans Day – A Death Sea Called Mediterranean

While the United Nations identifies 17 major regional seas in its planning, the Mediterranean is perhaps the most dramatic case as it has gone from being the so-called cradle of civilization to be a cemetery for thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants. And it is most probably also the most polluted water basin the whole world. See this report.

The Humanitarian Clock Is Ticking, The Powerful Feign Deafness

The humanitarian clock is now ticking away faster than ever, with over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people in dire need of assistance. But the most powerful, richest countries—those who have largely contributed to manufacturing it and can therefore stop it, continue to pretend not hearing nor seeing the signals.

Humanitarian Summit, The Big Fiasco

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) held in Istanbul on May 23-24, managed to send a strong wake-up call to the world about the unprecedented human suffering now in course, but failed to achieve the objective of attracting the massive funds needed to alleviate the humanitarian drama, as none of the leaders of the Group 7 of the richest countries nor of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council attended, with the exception of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Humanitarian Summit: Too Big to Fail?

With a line up of heads of state or government telling all what they did to alleviate human suffering and promising to do more, along with leaders of civil society and humanitarian organisations denouncing lack of honest political will to act while governments continue spending trillions of dollars in weapons, the two-day World Humanitarian Summit kicked off today May 23 in Istanbul.

Humanitarian Summit Aims to Mobilise Up to 30 Billion Dollars

The two-day World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), opening today May 23 in Istanbul, aims at mobilising between 20 and 30 billion dollars to face the on-gowing, worst-ever humanitarian crises, said Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs andEmergency Relief Coordinator.

Africa: Resolved to Address African Problems Using African Solutions

The African Union (AU) representing 54 countries and home to 1,2 billion inhabitants, will be in Istanbul to participate in the May 23-24, 2016, first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) with two key demands—that the international humanitarian system be redefined, and a strong, firm own commitment to itself, to the continent and its people, anchoring on the primacy of the states.

‘We Cannot Keep Jumping from Crisis to Crisis’

“We cannot keep jumping from crisis to crisis. We have to invest in long-term development that helps people cope with shocks so that they can continue to grow enough food for their communities and not require emergency aid.”

Now 1 in 2 World’s Refugees Live in Urban Areas

It is true that millions of refugees, especially in Africa and the Middle East, reside in camps. But in all they represent only one-quarter of the total number of refugees.Meanwhile, more than 1 in 2 of all the world’s refugees live in slums or in informal settlements and on the fringes of cities, in overcrowded neighbourhoods and in areas prone to flooding, sanitation hazards and diseases.

‘Human Suffering Has Reached Staggering Levels’

“Human suffering from the impacts of armed conflicts and disasters has reached staggering levels.”

Middle East – The Mother of All Humanitarian Crises

When, in March 2015, delegates from the Middle East met in Amman for their regional consultations round in preparation for the May 23-24 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, most likely what they had in mind is the fact that their region was --and still is-- the dramatic set of “the mother of all humanitarian crises.”

Mideast: 1 in 3 Bribes to Access Basic Public Services

Just an ordinary citizen living in a Middle East and North of Africa country and requring a birth certificate for your new-born daughter? No problem—just take something with you, either some cash, a pack of cigarettes or buy a glass of tea with milk and a lot of sugar.

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