Every December 10, the world commemorates the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines the inherent dignity and fundamental rights and freedoms of all people. It’s an ideal which the global community has been working toward for 64 years—one that is being severely tested by the ongoing refugee crisis.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 65.3 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes. This includes nearly 21.3 million refugees, more than half of who are children under the age of 18.
While the international community works toward a new set of draft principles for protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants, the business community is also mobilizing.
The B Team has released a new report: Refugees & Migrants – An Opportunity For Humanity, which outlines a clear case for business action, within companies and as part of the larger social movement, to help resolve the humanitarian crisis refugees face today.
There clearly are significant political and social welfare challenges which must be addressed with great urgency and purpose. But it’s imperative that we also remember that in order to resolve the crisis, we must find ways to recognize and celebrate the intrinsic value and contributions which refugees, properly supported, offer our communities and businesses.
B Team companies such Allianz and Unilever are already taking action. Through programs such as creating partnerships to employ refugees and providing product donations, provision of skills & expertise, employee donations, financial support and partnership grants to improve health and wellbeing and enhance livelihoods of refugees in the Middle East and Europe, they’re showing the impact business can, and must, have moving forward.
Together, we can help to solve this global crisis by supporting relief efforts, and helping refugees regain control of their lives by integrating them into the economy as fast as possible. Just as importantly, we must also stand against the stigma and misinformation that dominates the debate by ensuring the conversation is based on facts, not fear.
Refugees are and should be welcome—always. The anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should only remind us of that.
Read the report below.