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World Humanitarian Summit: contempt for international law drives refugee crisis

Unless world leaders decisively address the widespread disregard for international law that is forcing millions of people from their homes, any moves to improve the humanitarian system will fail to tackle the underlying causes of the refugee crisis, said Amnesty International ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Amid the worst refugee and humanitarian crisis since World War II, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened the World Humanitarian Summit – taking place 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul. It aims to reaffirm commitments of global leaders to helping millions of people vulnerable to conflicts and disasters.

Conflicts are fast becoming a free-for-all, with the price paid by civilians.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“Mass violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law are behind this global refugee crisis. Conflicts are fast becoming a free-for-all, with the price paid by civilians,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“Today perpetrators of war crimes can drop bombs indiscriminately without facing consequences, and there is no system for sharing responsibility to protect the millions they displace. These are dark times that demand a decisive response from world leaders meeting at the World Humanitarian Summit.

“It is absurd to expect humanitarian responses to improve at a time when the repeated bombing of field hospitals and routine targeting of civilians go unchecked. There can be no effective humanitarian system without respect for, and enforcement of, international law.”

Salil Shetty is speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit and is available for media interviews on issues including Amnesty International’s response to:

  • International humanitarian law violations and human rights abuses,
  • The UN’s proposed response the global refugee crisis, which could be a game-changer if governments make real commitments,
  • The human rights situation it Turkey and the treatment of refugees.