The world currently is witnessing a very high level of displacement of people. It is a humanitarian crisis. There are millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and their access to fundamental rights like healthcare, employment, education and freedom of movement has also been taken from them. Over the last decade, the global displacement of people from their houses because of political instability or war has grown enormously. On seeing the statistics, refugee and their protection have now become a global issue in several ways.
In this article, you will let to know how refugees became a global issue and what we as an individual or as an organisation can do to overcome this problem? Also, include the steps taken by the governments of different countries.
How have refugees become a global issue?
First of all, there is no country or region on the globe that remains unaffected from the same weather as a receiver of refugees or as a producer of it or geographically saying, it could even be transit for the refugees.
Secondly, the causes of migration from a broad spectrum, this broad spectrum includes forced migration, which is mostly because of persecution, environmental issues, conflict and violation of the human rights or due to voluntary migration, economic migration and in many cases people migrate from one place to the other. Still, they follow the same route at the same time. All this causes a lot of variety of challenges to be taken into account by governments all over the world.
Thirdly, the number of refugees is humongous. According to UNHCR that is United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there was a record that was as high as 65.6 million people forcibly displaced because of human right violations, conflicts and persecutions of which 2.8 million were asylum seekers and 22.5 million were refugees.
The current crisis of refugees give us a reality check which is the lack of political will to protect refugees, and this is quite well reflected by the securitisation of migration, the closing of international borders and the criminalisation of migration and migrants. The irony here is that the governments do so stating the reason of national security. The logic that they present is that they do acknowledge human rights. Still, they also claim that other concerns such as financial protection and national security should be taken into account and given more priority when compared to refugees. This reality is the crux of the global refugee crisis.
What we as an individual or as an organisation, can we do to overcome this problem?
Just imagine that the current scenario in your country requires you to run away from your country within few hours because you are not at all safe in your very own country. If you emerge out to be lucky enough, you might have the time to pack a bag, or it might not even be the case, and you could be left with nothing. Fortunately, some many people and organisations help the refugees. Let us have a look at how, as an individual or as an organisation, can we help the refugees.
1. Provide Financial Help
Some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and charities have opened appeals that specifically aimed to help and solve the plight of refugees. There are various organisations in the world which tell us exactly what will they do with the donation that they will get from the people.
Here or a few examples of the same :
- Médecins Sans Frontièrs: This humanitarian agency has three rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station: This charity runs independent rescue boats which rescue the migrants that are at risk of drowning. This agency has seen a massive spike in their donations since the picture of the drowned Syrian boy came out.
- Aylan Kurdi Fund: This specific fund is named after a drowned boy. All profits of it go to the humanitarian agency for Syria hand in hand.
- UNICEF: United Nations International Children’s Fund is an agency for children’s charity. It provides essential supplies for surviving such as medicine, clean water and psychological support. It says that a donation of nine euros could provide an emergency water kit to a family.
- Refugee Council: It says that its donation of hundred euros could pay for the travel of two children for a week and their education.
- UNHCR: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, it runs camps for providing shelter and aid to refugees across the globe. It has been working with the United Nations for over 65 years now.
2. Use of Social Media
You can use your social media effectively and make the people more aware of the ongoing crisis in the world. So that they give attention to this problem and donate or do something for it. Social media must be the hot topic for debates discussing its coin-like sides, but for this, it has only one side- the right side. Every marketing is good marketing. Similarly, social media can serve different apps as a single medium or a platform to spread the word about the ongoing crisis. The prominent and recent example is that of the Khalsa Aid organisation.
3. Donate Essential Items
You can donate essential items to the agencies that help the refugees. It is highly dependent on technology nowadays to donate as it is not physically possible for oneself to go to a different country to donate a few personal holdings. One tends to connect with groups, associations or NGOs. Anyway, helping someone in need is in our Indian blood.
We generally give expensive gifts to our friends and family on auspicious occasions such as Diwali whereas we know that they can afford to buy the gift that we are gifting. Why can’t one donate to someone who is actually in a desperate need of it? Such other global occasions are Halloween, Thanksgiving etc. where we can extend our hand to donate
Different countries took steps
Various nations have taken a different number of people that escaped from the conflict. Here are some of them-
- Canada- it resettled 25,000 refugees in February in the year 2016.
- Lebanon- it is a small country, but it has hosted 1 million Syrian refugees. It is in very close proximity to Damascus and other built-up areas of western Syria.
- Jordan- The country is unable to hold this large number of refugees now and as Syria is located on its south-west. It has around 1 million refugees who live in the country’s local community rather than living in the organised refugee camps.
- Iraq- despite the ongoing conflict in Iraq many around a quarter of 1 million Syrian refugees fled to Iraq. Mostly the ethnic Kurds have gone to the Iraqi go to STAN where the conflict has been kept at bay by the local security forces.
- Saudi Arabia- The country of Saudi Arabia issued residency permits for around 1 lakh Syrian refugees. However, it did not formally accept anyone classed as a refugee.
- Turkey- The country holds along the land border with northern Syria and is the gateway to Europe. Both these factors have made Turkey as the biggest host of refugees from the Syrian conflict. There are between 2 to 3 million displaced Syrian refugees that live within the country, and most of them are living in camps.
- Sweden- The country of Sweden has been a significant destination for the Syrian refugees. They have the policy to grant all asylum seekers permanent residency of the state and also provide a living to their families.
- Gallup poll said that Iceland and New Zealand are the most accepting countries for migrants in the whole world.
Role of European Union
Besides this, the European Union ( EU; an economic and political union of 27 member states that are located in the continent of Europe ) is also doing its part to help the refugees. Its plan includes six key points which are –
- The first step is to implement fully the hotspot approach that is to relocate the asylum seekers out of Italy and Greece and at the same time return the individuals to the respective countries who do not qualify for the refugee protection. This includes existing readmission agreements.
- Step up and support Greece to handle the humanitarian emergency of the refugee crisis. This includes the determination of refugee status, their relocation and their readmission or return.
- To assure compliance with all the European Union directives and laws on asylum among its member states.
- For refugees make ways that are safe and legal to travel to Europe under managed programmes. Some examples of such programmes are private sponsorships, family reunion, humanitarian admission programmes, student scholarships and labour mobility schemes. This is done so that the refugees do not take up wrong modes or so that they do not resort to smuggling and trafficking while finding safety.
- To protect and safeguard the individuals that are at risk. This must include systems that protect unaccompanied and separated children; there must be measures that prevent and respond to gender-based and sexual violence. Search and rescue operations at sea must be at effective so that they save lives. This is a significant step that had to be taken because refugees and migrants are specially targeted people.
- There must be systems of responsibility Europe wide for the ones who seek asylum. This includes the creation of registration centres in leading countries in which the refugees arrive and setting up of a system for asylum request which is supposed to be distributed in an equitable way across all the European Union member states.
And as per what is the history says Europe has very well dealt with large-scale refugee movements in the past also. We can take the example of Balkan wars. Now even in this ongoing crisis of refugees, Europe will very well deal with it.
In the end, I would like to say that let’s become a kinder version of ourselves and show sympathy and empathy to the people in need so that we can make this world a better place to live in.
Also Read- Why is Hunger still a problem?