John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus, June 24, 2015

he recent UN report stating that the world’s refugees now equal almost 60 million, the equivalent of the population of Italy and the highest it has ever been in recorded history, only scratches the surface of bleak statistics. Of those 60 million, 14 million were added in 2014 alone. Today, and everyday, approximately 45,000 join the ranks; the equivalent of a newly displaced San Diego every month. Only more dismal, is the realization that over half of all of them are under the age of 18. The most depressing numbers of them all? A mere 127,000 of the 14.4 million displaced in 2014 (less than 1%) have returned to their home countries. The civil war in Syria is easily the biggest influence in the swelling numbers, but it is certainly not the only problem region. Iraq, Burma, Ukraine, Colombia, Pakistan, South Sudan, and more all playing host to respective conflicts that are forcing hundreds of thousands to millions to flee for their lives. In 2013, the statistics weren’t much better, but the sad fact of the matter is that “refugees usually make it into the headlines only when they try to storm the ramparts of the developed world.” It took the drowning of hundreds of refugees seeking safety in Europe for the continent to even acknowledge the crisis. It is the countries without the means who step up to the plate.

From Syria, for example, the US has taken in a whopping 700 refugees, out of 4 million. For every 10 refugees, 9 are taken in by developing countries, and of the top host countries by refugees per capita, the first 8 are relatively poor. Without any money or resources to speak of, and absent even the voting power of a citizen, refugees “are truly the most disenfranchised people on earth.” It seems there is but one legitimately powerful player, economically or politically, willing to take an interest in the lost millions: Pope Francis. In 2013, the Pope condemned what he called the “globalization of indifference.” As bad a picture as the latest UN report paints, it gets worse. The current classification of refugees ignores those who flee as a result of environmental factors. Their inclusion would balloon the numbers beyond belief. Clearly, to address the refugee crisis we must address the root causes: war, persecution, and environmental degradation. That necessitates money, policy, and diplomacy. Above all else, however, as the Pope indicates, we need to be there for our world neighbors for the simplest of reasons: these are not just numbers, but human lives.

Get in deeper:

 Italy threatens EU with ‘plan B that would hurt’ if no solidarity in migrant crisis by PBS

Debate: Related Articles
Three Different Perspectives on the Same Issue. Click on the title to see more
UN Warns of ‘Record High’ 60 Million Displaced Amid Expanding Global ConflictsA Record Year in Misery: the World Has Never Seen a Refugee Crisis This BadThe Flight of Refugees Around the Globe
‘For an age of unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution.’ [— UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres].UN News Centre, June 18, 2015

Between the civil war in Syria, the spread of the Islamic State into Iraq, continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2014 was a year of dire warnings about the state of the world order.Elias Groll, Foreign Policy, June 18, 2015

In terms of hosting displaced people, developed countries pale in comparison with nations bordering conflict zones. Combined, the United States and France had 760,000 refugees last year. Ethiopia, for example, is host to some 665,000.Sergio Peçanha, Tim Wallace, The New York Times, June 20, 2015
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)



Leave A Reply

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Este sitio usa Akismet para reducir el spam. Aprende cómo se procesan los datos de tus comentarios.