Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A refuge in time of trouble

More than half of all refugees are children.  -- 2015
(From the Human Rights Watch - We've not
 been able to trace the child.)
An exhausted child cries on the railway tracks between Serbia and Hungary as night falls.

International response to today's refugee crisis continues to be a volatile issue.  The individuals involved are invisible in our public discussions. 

There are 65 million people who have been forced to flee their homes. The number of refugees in the world has reached the highest level ever recorded, according to the United Nations.


“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year.  On land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi
UN Update 11 JUN 17
The reasons are threefold:
  • Conflicts that cause large refugee outflows, like Somalia and Afghanistan – now in their third and fourth decade respectively, are lasting longer.
  • Dramatic new or reignited conflicts and situations of insecurity are occurring more frequently. While today’s largest is Syria, wars have broken out in the past five years in South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine, and the Central African Republic, while thousands more people have fled raging gang and other violence in Central America.
  • The rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people has been on a falling trend since the end of the Cold War, leaving a growing number in limbo.
Update: More than 80 percent of Syrian refugees registered
 in Lebanon are women and children.  July '17
“We’re stuck here. We can’t go on and we can’t go back,” said Hikmat, a Syrian farmer driven from his land by war, now living in tent outside a shopping centre in Lebanon with his wife and young children. “My children need to go to school, they need a future,” he added.
The U.N. found that three countries produce half the world’s international refugees. Syria at 4.9 million, Afghanistan at 2.7 million, and Somalia at 1.1 million together accounted for more than half the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate worldwide.  For national (internally displaced) refugees, the greatest numbers are in Colombia at 6.9 million, Syria at 6.6 million, and Iraq at 4.4 million.
After seven days on the run young
Nyanchau, who is internally 
displaced, chews on the dry
flesh of a palm nut in 
Rumbek, South Sudan.
©  UNHCR - Rocco Nuri
While the spotlight has been on Europe’s challenge to manage more than 1 million refugees and migrants who arrived via the Mediterranean, the U.N. report shows that the vast majority of the world’s refugees were in developing countries in the global south.
Two displaced Yemeni children, Muna, 9 and Swkina 8, stand
outside their family’s tent in the Darwin camp - in Yemen’s
northern province of Amran. © UNHCR - Yahya Arhab
In most recent statistics , 86 per cent of international refugees are in low- and middle-income countries close to situations of conflict. Worldwide, Turkey is the biggest host country, with 2.5 million refugees. Lebanon, with nearly one refugee for every five citizens, hosts more refugees compared to its population than any other country.
Children make up 51% of the world’s refugees, according to the data UNHCR was able to gather (complete demographic data is not always available). Many are separated from their parents or travelling alone.
In light of the extraordinary human crisis, what might be our personal response?  Our national response?

We can help.
Contribute to the work (and here) or perhaps get involved




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