Malteser International Americas and the Order of Malta Lead a Panel on the Global Refugee Crisis at the United Nations
Focus on helping refugee women find hope and stability with viable opportunities and solutions amid crisis

MIAMI – On International Women’s Day, Malteser International Americas, an affiliate of Malteser International, the humanitarian relief agency of the Order of Malta, today announced that it will lead a side-panel at the United Nations (UN) on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m EST, centered on helping women to find hope and opportunity in the midst of the global refugee crisis. The panel entitled, “Women Caught in the Global Refugee Crisis: Finding Hope and Opportunity in Despair” will take place at the Ex-Press Bar at the UN (3rd Flr. NW corner of the General Assembly Building), and is scheduled during the UN 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Heading up the panel are: Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director, Malteser International Americas; Ninette Kelley, Director of the New York Office, United Nations High Commission on Refugees; H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi, Ambassador of Vanuatu to the United Nations; James Wiley, COO, Counter Human Trafficking Compliance Solutions; and Amal, a female refugee.

These global humanitarian leaders will offer a hard look into the world of female refugees, present their experience empowering refugee women, and sharing their global relief efforts and solutions, which lead to opportunity and hope for women in countries most challenged with refugees and internally displaced people (IDP).

Malteser International’s empowering Cash-for-Work program in Middle Eastern Refugee Camps will be highlighted. The program offers trainings and cash-for-work for unskilled females, while offering renewed stability, better livelihoods and stronger family structure. “Each woman in a refugee camp has a deeply personal story, which is oftentimes accompanied by unconscionable tragedy. Many have lost children and family members.

The lives of these mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives are filled with anguish, and their dignity has been stripped from them. Malteser International’s Cash-for-Work program empowers women and offers them a life-saving opportunity to create stability and normalcy for themselves --and their families-- within the camps,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director, Malteser International Americas.

Malteser International has been operating health care programs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, since August 2014, providing emergency relief for refugees, IDPs, and entire host communities. The panel will also host a refugee named Amal who will share her harrowing experience of life on-the-run after she fled her country when her husband was captured, injured, and their safety was threatened. “When you are a refugee you have to leave your whole world behind. In Sudan we were not safe, and we had to run away. We had to leave our home and our jobs and flee to Egypt with our son, but even there we were not safe. I felt alone and scared because my husband was very sick, and my son was only 4 years old. We refugee women have to work hard to keep our hope, even if it is as small as a match. We have to kindle that little flame, to keep holding light in the midst of darkness” said Amal.

Co-leading the panel is the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations. The Order of Malta provides aid to refugees along the Balkan route, in European countries where it provides housing and assimilation assistance, and in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, where many lives fleeing by sea have been saved. “Respect for human rights today is lower than at any time since the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Order of Malta strongly believes that every human has rights and that is why we ardently work around the globe to support migrants and refugees,” said Oscar R. de Rojas, Ambassador and Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the UN. For more than 60 years the UN’s High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has protected and promoted the rights of tens of millions of refugees and displaced people. Ninette Kelley, Director of the New York Office, UNHCR, will offer global insight on the refugee crisis and how the agency works to better the lives of women around the world.

“UNHCR’s work builds upon the resilience and strength of refugee and displaced women, helping them to improve their lives, as well as those of their children, families and communities, every single day,” said Ninette Kelley. While violence, conflict and persecution lead the reasons children and families around the globe flee their countries, climate change is another devastating cause. In 2005, the UN declared the inhabitants of the village of Lataw on Vanuatu to be the Earth’s first climate refugees. As a result, the country of Vanuatu, and H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi, Ambassador of Vanuatu to the United Nations, have been vocal about refugees and displaced people due to climate change and natural disasters. “In times of crisis women and girls are mostly forgotten.

Lending a hand to women and girls during difficult times not only saves them, but it provides hope for the whole family,” said Ambassador Tevi. The panel is open to public, and interested attendees must RSVP ASAP, or by March 17th, and include their full name, contact information, and confirmation of attendance in an email to: contact@malteser-international.org. Registration/sign-up for this event is required due to limited seating capacity.