Press Releases

Not fit for winter: Conditions in ‘Moria 2.0’ camp are abysmal - GCR and Oxfam

Oxfam Ireland urge for swift relocation of the remaining 26 unaccompanied children from Greece to Ireland

The new temporary camp on the Greek island of Lesbos is even worse than the original Moria camp, with inadequate shelter, hardly any running water, limited healthcare services, and no access to legal aid, said the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Oxfam in their latest ‘Lesbos Bulletin’ news update. The organisations call for the immediate relocation of all people seeking asylum in Lesbos to adequate accommodation on the Greek mainland and in other EU countries - including the remaining 26 unaccompanied children Ireland has committed to relocate.

Almost 8,000 people – most of them families with children – now live in tents not fit for winter, some of which are just 20 metres from the sea. The tents lack a solid foundation and provide no protection against the weather including against strong sea winds and rains.

Food is only provided once or twice per day, and according to residents there is not enough to feed their families. Due to the lack of running water, many people wash themselves in the sea – this is particularly risky for children who could drown or get infected by wastewater from the camp. Due to the lack of toilets and showers as well as insufficient lighting in the new camp, women are also exposed to increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “When Moria burnt down, we heard strong statements from EU decision-makers saying ‘No more Morias’. But the new camp is rightly dubbed ‘Moria 2.0’. 

“The EU and Greek response following the Moria fire has been pitiful. Rather than relocating people to proper shelters where they would be safe, the EU and Greece have opted for another dismal camp at the external borders, trapping people in a spiral of destitution and misery.  

“This approach is echoed in the new EU migration pact: it proposes more camps at Europe’s borders to screen people seeking asylum. Experience shows that it is unlikely that resources will be invested to ensure a fair and efficient procedure. This means ordinary people using their legal right to flee conflict and human rights abuses will remain in limbo and despair, out of sight of the European public and politicians."

Natalia-Rafaella Kafkoutsou, refugee law expert at the Greek Council for Refugees, said: “We are deeply concerned about living conditions in the new camp and urge Greece to relocate immediately everyone from the island. Though the government’s plan to relocate all residents by Easter is welcome, it fails to address the squalid conditions in the camp, which will deteriorate in winter.

“The government plan also does not provide a durable and coherent integration strategy, in order to avoid simply transferring a policy-made problem from the island to the mainland. This also means that European governments need to work together and ensure effective relocation across member states for those seeking protection in Europe. The practices and policies that led to the failure of the EU ‘hotspot’ approach, both in Lesbos and the other Aegean islands, should not be replicated and consolidated in the EU’s future asylum system, which seems to be the case with the current proposals for a new EU migration pact.”  

Clarken concluded: “We recently welcomed the increase in funding for TUSLA in Budget 2021, and reiterate our hope that this leads to the swift relocation of the remaining 26 unaccompanied children from Greece to Ireland as committed to by the Government in March of this year. 

“We also urge the government to ensures that the International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017 be resubmitted for attention, allowed to pass through the final stages of the Dáil and be enacted into law. This simple act can reunite families torn apart by conflict and persecution.” 

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Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165 

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to editors:

  • Spokespeople are available in Ireland, Athens and Lesbos (English, Greek) as well as in Brussels (English).
  • In March of this year Ireland committed to bring 36 unaccompanied minors to Ireland from Greece. To date, Ireland has brought eight of the 36 children they pledged to relocate as part of the Coalition of the Willing initiative, with a commitment following the fires in Moria to begin working to relocate an additional four unaccompanied minors. 
  • Read the full “Lesbos Bulletin”, a two-monthly update on the situation in the EU ‘hotspot’ refugee camp in Lesbos
  • When Oxfam conducted a rapid protection assessment at the end of September, the organisation identified numerous risks to the people living in the camp including limited access to food and healthcare, insufficient measures against COVID-19, as well as no drainage and sewerage system on site. The protection assessment that was conducted by Oxfam at the end of September is available upon request.
  • The fire in Moria camp occurred on the 8th and 9th September and left over 12,000 people without shelter.
  • After the fire, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that “Conditions in Moria, both before and after the fire, were unacceptable… It is not good enough to say never again, we need action and all Member States must play their part.”
  • The UNHCR and NGOs have protested the Greek government’s decision to close two alternative community-based care sites in Lesbos for people seeking asylum, Kara Tepe and Pikpa. Following public pressure, the government has stated that the facility would temporarily remain open.
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True value of climate finance is just a third of that reported by developed countries – Oxfam

Ireland does well in terms of quality but falls down in terms of quantity

The true value of money provided by developed countries to help developing nations respond to the climate crisis may be just a third of the amount reported, according to Oxfam estimates published today – with Ireland standing out as one of the few countries that provide 100 percent of untied, grant-based climate finance.  

Oxfam’s Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020 estimates that donors reported $59.5 billion per year on average in 2017 and 2018 – the latest years for which figures are available. But the true value of support for climate action may be as little as $19-22.5 billion per year once loan repayments, interest and other forms of over-reporting are stripped out. 

Oxfam’s analysis is being released ahead of a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on developed countries’ progress towards the goal of providing $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020.

An astonishing 80 percent ($47 billion) of all reported public climate finance was not provided in the form of grants – mostly as loans. Around half ($24 billion) of this finance was non-concessional, offered on ungenerous terms. Oxfam calculated that the ‘grant equivalent’ – the true value of the loans once repayments and interest are deducted – was less than half of the amount reported. 

Compared to other countries Ireland also does well in terms of targeting its climate finance grants on those most in need- low income countries. Ireland’s new overseas development aid (ODA) strategy, A Better World, commits to continue this focus.

While the quality of Irish climate finance is high, Ireland is falling short in terms of the quantity and predictability of these financial flows. In 2018, Ireland reported nearly €80 million in climate finance as its annual contribution to the $100 billion a year global climate finance target to be reached by 2020. However, based on estimates using the Eco-Equity Stockholm Environment Institute Responsibility Capacity Index, Ireland’s fair share of this annual figure is over five times this amount.

Michael McCarthy Flynn, Senior Research and Policy Coordinator with Oxfam Ireland, said: “Climate finance is a lifeline for communities facing record heat waves, terrifying storms and devastating floods. Even as governments struggle with COVID-19, they must not lose sight of the mounting threat from the climate crisis. The commitment in the Programme for Government to double the percentage of development assistance that counts as climate finance, without allocating additional funds, risks simply re-labelling existing aid as climate finance rather than committing to providing new and additional finance to support climate action in the poorest countries.

“Developed countries like Ireland need to up their ambition in relation to climate finance and allocate more finance for adaptation and prioritise the most vulnerable countries – including Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. They should also use the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next November as an opportunity to set a new path for climate finance beyond 2020 by agreeing robust common accounting standards, and a specific finance goal for adaptation.”

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Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org| +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869 

Notes to editors:

  • Spokespeople are available for interview.
  • Download a full copy of the report, Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020: Assessing progress towards the $100 billion commitment
  • The analysis comes ahead of updated estimates and analysis of climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) expected in the coming weeks.
  • In 2009, developed countries committed to mobilise $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020 to support developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions. At the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow next year, nations will begin negotiations on a new goal or goals to replace this commitment from 2025.
  • The figure of $59.5 billion is an average of the climate finance reported in 2017 and 2018 towards the $100 billion goal by developed country governments, multilateral development banks, multilateral climate funds and other organisations as reported to the UNFCCC and the OECD. They are the most recent figures available. 
  • Oxfam’s $19-22.5 billion figure includes the estimated grant equivalent of reported climate finance rather than the face value of loans and other non-grant instruments. It also accounts for overreporting of climate finance where action to combat climate change is only part of a broader development project.
  • This is Oxfam’s third Shadow Climate Finance Report. Reported public climate finance has increased from $44.5 billion per year in 2015 and 2016 (OECD) to an estimated $59.5 billion per year in 2017 and 2018. Oxfam’s estimate of net, climate specific assistance showed a more modest rise from $15–19.5 billion per year in 2015 and 2016 to $19–22.5 billion in 2017 and 2018. 
  • The analysis also raises serious concerns about how developed countries are allocating climate finance. Of total reported public climate finance in 2017-18, Oxfam estimates: 
  1. Around a fifth (20.5 percent) of funding went to the Least Developed Countries and just three percent to Small Island Developing States, which face the gravest threat from climate change and have the fewest   resources to cope 
  2. Only a quarter (25 percent) of funding was spent helping countries adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis while 66 percent of funds were spent helping countries cut emissions. However, the volume of funding for adaptation rose significantly from $9 billion per year in 2015–16 to $15 billion in 2017–18. 
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Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief with Oxfam is coming to the Frascati Centre, Blackrock

New pop-up shop packed with brand-new, pre-loved and designer bargains

  • Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Victoria Beckham and Irish designers Fee G, Deborah Veale and Louise Kennedy to feature  
  • Shop sustainably and help beat poverty 

Launching this Saturday, Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief with Oxfam is bringing a pop-up shop to the newly renovated Frascati Centre, Blackrock. The shop will boast rail after rail of brand-new and pre-loved donated clothes, shoes and accessories, offering a more sustainable way to shop, while also supporting Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty. 

Fashion Relief started in 2018 when broadcaster Lorraine Keane teamed up with Oxfam Ireland to organise a series of live Fashion Relief events. Since then, Fashion Relief has travelled nationwide to Dublin, Galway and Cork and raised almost €270,000 for Oxfam’s work with the poorest and most vulnerable. When COVID-19 resulted in the postponement of the 2020 events, Fashion Relief pivoted to an online shopping platform with the help of Irish tech firm Axonista – a partnership recognised at the recent US TV of Tomorrow Awards where Axonista took home the Corporate Leadership in the Coronavirus Era award for Fashion Relief TV.  

Taking all the best elements of the live shows and the shopping channel, the Frascati Fashion Relief Pop-up will be packed full of designer and boutique bargains.  

Lorraine Keane said: “We are thrilled the Frascati Centre has so generously offered to host our Fashion Relief Pop-up. We will have pieces from the fashion houses of Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Victoria Beckham alongside Irish designers Fee G, Deborah Veale and Louise Kennedy.  

“By bagging a bargain from the Fashion Relief Pop-up, you’ll be shopping more sustainably, helping to divert pre-loved and end-of-line clothes from landfill, and doing your bit for people and planet – including communities most at risk from the climate crisis.” 

Fashion Relief is part of Oxfam’s solution to ‘throwaway fashion’, encouraging people to donate pre-loved items and reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfill as well as shopping second-hand to give pre-loved clothes a longer life. Fashion Relief also works with retailers, boutiques, wholesalers and Irish dress agencies, supporting them to donate their end of line or excess stock instead of sending it to landfill – a more sustainable solution for people and planet. 

Keane concluded: “As part of Fashion Relief, I’ve travelled to Ethiopia, Somaliland and more recently Bangladesh to see first-hand how the profits raised help some of the poorest and most at risk people through Oxfam’s work – people made even more vulnerable because of the deadly threat of COVID-19. When you shop with Fashion Relief, know that every purchase helps to transform lives and support those most in need.” 

Drop into the Frascati Centre from Saturday 17th October to browse an amazing range of fabulous fashion finds at discounted prices, bag yourself a unique bargain and feel good as you do good!    

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Contact 

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165 

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869 

Notes to the editor 

  • Lorraine Keane is available for interview 
  • Fashion Relief is a fundraiser extraordinaire that offers people the unique opportunity to bag a bargain from the wardrobe of their style icon or beloved brand, boutique or designer. It started in May 2018 and has since rolled out annual events in Dublin, Cork and Galway, more recently pivoting to an online interactive shopping platform – www.fashionrelief.ie.   
  • All profits support Oxfam’s work in some of the world’s poorest countries, helping people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive as well as saving lives when disaster strikes. Since its inception, Fashion Relief has raised nearly €270,000 for Oxfam’s work. 
  • Oxfam is a global movement of people who won’t live with the injustice of poverty. Together they save lives and rebuild communities when disaster strikes. They help people build better lives for themselves. They speak out on the big issues that keep people poor, like inequality and discrimination against women. And they won’t stop until every person on the planet can live without poverty. Oxfam Ireland is one of 20 Oxfams working in over 90 countries worldwide. 
  • Development at the new Frascati Centre in Blackrock is finished, creating a new shopping and dining experience for everyone. The newly introduced one stop shop for Health, Beauty and Body has opened on the spacious first floor and includes a stylish re-fitted Peter Mark along with new stores Sugar Daddy, Sugar Coated, Sisu, The Blackrock Medical centre and Pure Pharmacy. F45 Gym and The Yoga studio are due to open soon. Downstairs on the bright and airy mall, you’ll find all of the other much loved Frascati brands including M&S, Aldi, Vodafone, Bannon Jewellers, Murray Mobile and Boots. Frascati’s top fashion boutiques and shoe stores have all been upgraded.  
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Oxfam Ireland Media Reactive: Budget 2021


Responding to the announcement of Budget 2021, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland Jim Clarken said:

“We welcome the increase of €30 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Budget 2021. It is very positive, that even in these most challenging of times, Ireland has chosen to demonstrate international solidarity with the most vulnerable communities around the globe. The world's poorest people are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis as its economic fallout threatens to push half a billion more people into poverty. It has never been more important to continue to champion ODA.

“As indicated by Minister McGrath in his speech today, this commitment to overseas aid together with our seat on the UN Security Council will enhance and strengthen Ireland’s presence internationally.

"While we welcome Ireland's commitments globally, we also welcome the commitment at a national level regarding funding for Tusla in support of children and young people seeking international protection. We would urge the Government to use this funding to ensure the urgent relocation of the remaining 26 unaccompanied minors stranded on the Greek islands to Ireland as commited to in March.

"With the onset of COVID-19 undermining the global fight against poverty, inequality and the climate crisis, global support and solidarity has become more important than ever. In the COVID-19 response, we cannot say we are safe, until we’re all safe and we welcome the announcements within Budget 2021 today which spoke to this."

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Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to the Editor:

Oxfam Ireland spokespeople will be available for interviews, analysis and comment on a number of issues included in our Pre-Budget Submission.

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