Executive Summary for July 29th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the German Chancellor’s pledge that Germany won’t reverse its policies following terror attacks, donors releasing new funds to Lebanon and Jordan, and Barcelona’s ‘shame counter’ of refugee deaths.

Published on July 29, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Merkel Says Attacks Won’t Change German Refugee Policy

German chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her country’s open-doors policy on refugees. She said she felt no guilt over recent terror attacks on German soil, some of which were carried out by asylum seekers, and would not change policy in response.

“The terrorists want to make us lose sight of what is important to us, break down our cohesion and sense of community as well as inhibiting our way of life, our openness and our willingness to take in people who are in need,” she told a press conference on July 28 after interrupting her holidays to respond to a spate of attacks in the south of the country.

The incidents have left many Germans in shock and hundreds of thousands of refugees concerned that they would change local attitudes to their presence.

“A rejection of the humanitarian stance we took could have led to even worse consequences,” Merkel said. She pointed out that the attackers want “to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need. We firmly reject this.”

“They see hatred and fear between cultures and they see hatred and fear between religions. We stand decisively against that,” she insisted.

Donors Green-Light Jordan Spending to Support Refugees

International donors have approved $340 million in funding to Jordan in support of its hosting of refugees.

The Concessional Financing Facility (CFF), an alliance of the World Bank, regional development banks and major donors including the United States and the European Union, aims to channel funding into Lebanon and Jordan in recognition of the impact of refugees.

The CFF is designed to support middle-income countries hosting large refugee populations with concessional financing, a mix of cheap loans and grants. The first two projects chosen are in Jordan and focus on creating jobs for Syrian refugees and meeting infrastructure needs, including a waste-water plant.

“It is critical that today we begin to finance projects to support vulnerable populations in Jordan and Lebanon,” said Franck Bousquet, a regional director with the World Bank.

Mediterranean Drownings Counter Unveiled in Barcelona

Barcelona has unveiled a large digital counter next to a popular beach to track refugee and migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.

The tracker was dubbed the “shame counter” by the city’s left-wing mayor, Ada Colau, whose local government paid for the monument.

“We’re here to look the Mediterranean in the face and look at this number – 3,034 people who drowned because they were not offered a safe passage,” said Colau.

It consists of a digital counter using data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) atop a large rectangular pillar made of metal with the inscription: “This isn’t just a number, these are people.”

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