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No Place to Call Home: Record Breaking Number of Refugees Announced on World Refugee Day
By admin June 20, 2016

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Today marks World Refugee Day amidst a growing and polarizing population of refugees, and the UN report for 2016 says there are now 65.3 million people classified as refugees. This number is a record high for the globe, and it’s the first time the worldwide population of refugees has passed the 60 million mark. What’s more insightful is that over half come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. Some more statistics on this issue are that 12.4 million of them were very recently displaced (2015 or after), and half are children under the age of eighteen.

Whether by land or by sea, these individuals are fleeing war torn countries or seeking asylum due to their political and personal beliefs. While most of them prefer to settle in European Union (EU) countries such as Sweden or Germany, in fact most of the world’s refugee population is housed in middle and low-income countries such as Pakistan and Turkey.

This issue is not only an economic one but also a political and cultural one. All across the EU there has been polarizing debate about whether to grant asylum to refugees and if so, to how many? Religious or cultural differences and prejudices are playing a huge role in this debate and many countries are facing serious challenges to cope with this crisis. In addition, many are criticizing the EU for not have a clearer and more helpful policy for integrating and assimilating these refugees. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recently announced that it would no longer accept funding from the EU as a stand against their poor policies and the EU-Turkey deal. While the crisis only grows, many are now asking if rich countries are doing enough to help those fleeing their home.

To add to these already difficult situations, there are large health and safety issues that have now reared their head. Living in cramped camps or taking over-capacity boats across the Mediterranean poses a very substantial threat to the wellbeing, both mental and physical, of these refugees. Public health concerns are especially prevalent in camps in Sudan and Kenya where there are regular outbreaks of cholera and other infectious diseases. The EU faces more of a cultural question – how to best integrate and assimilate a large population of refugees many of whom are likely traumatized by what they have left behind. Tie that into rampant poverty and we have an international development crisis on our hands.

However, aid organizations have not lost all hope. The UN, MSF, and others are working tirelessly to be able to ameliorate this situation but many more funds are needed to be able to reach the volume of people they hope to. In addition to funding, there are also political barriers such as troops in Syria not allowing convoys with food rations to pass through into sieged cities. With collaboration amongst stakeholders, increased aid globally, and multi-level policy change, hopefully life for these refugees can change, for the better, and for good.

References:

Refugees at highest ever level, reaching 65m, says UN

#WorldRefugeeDay: Recognizing the plight of the world’s refugees

The refugee crisis is a problem of poverty, not just migration

Refugee crisis: Record 65 million people forced to flee homes, UN says


Thanks for sharing !


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