At a time when conflict and persecution is driving more refugees from their homes than at any other time since World War II, much of the western world is raising the drawbridge. A series of United States deals with Mexico has blocked tens of thousands of Central American asylum seekers from seeking US protection. The EU has pulled out all the plugs to stop hundreds of thousands of mostly Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan - as well as other refugees - from reaching its shores by land and sea, leaving them trapped in Libya, Turkey, and Syria. And Australia has intercepted and detained thousands of asylum seekers in appalling conditions on remote Pacific Islands in an attempt to prevent them and others from ever setting foot in Australia.
Human Rights Watch is at the forefront of revealing the human cost of these refugee diversion policies. Gerry Simpson, associate director of HRW’s refugee rights program, has researched refugee abuses for the past 10 years in dozens of countries. Join us as he shares many of the myriad stories he’s encountered from refugees concerning the heavy price they’ve paid for the rich world’s indifference to their plight, and about how poorer countries such as Cameroon, Kenya, and Pakistan have used that indifference to justify their own mass refugee abuses.
Gerry Simpson researches abuses against refugees and displaced persons fleeing persecution and conflict, focusing mainly on Africa and the Middle East. Simpson has worked on the Afghan, Eritrean, Ivorian, Nigerian, Somali, Syrian and Zimbabwean refugee crises in Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and Turkey, and on the plight of internally displaced people in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State.Based in Geneva, Simpson regularly meets with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to advocate on Human Rights Watch's refugee work worldwide and to press the agency to enhance its protection of refugees.Before joining Human Rights Watch, Simpson worked as a human rights lawyer in London and then as an advocate and protection officer with Medecins sans Frontieres, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee's Emergency Team in numerous countries, including the Central African Republic, Colombia, Darfur, Sierra Leone, southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Uganda. Simpson holds law degrees from Southampton (UK) and Rouen (France) Universities and from the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium).
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