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UNHCR Estimates There To Be 22.5 Million Refugees Worldwide

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) there are an estimated 65.6 million people who have been forcibly displaced around the world with 22.5 million of those being refugees.

Refugees

Tens of millions have been displaced (Credit: UNHCR)

Refugees come from many different nations but that vast majority, 55% of all refugees, come from South Sudan (1.4 million), Afghanistan (2.5 million) and Syria (5.5 million) with Turkey being the country which hosts the most refugees (2.9 million).

The amount of refugees now is the highest figure ever recorded and with so much uncertainty in the world right now, those figures look set to increase even further.

Amnesty International has come up with 8 proposals to help alleviate the refugee crisis and maybe help save some of their lives.

  1. Open up safe routes to sanctuary. At the moment, people fleeing their countries because of persecution or to be reunited with loved ones are forced to take terrible risks and many people end up dying on the way to what could be a new life. 2016 saw at least 5,000 refugees die trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from north Africa to Europe.
  2. Resettlement. This is where a refugee is moved to a country which can care for his or her specific needs. Sometimes a refugee can land in a country that because of their past traumas or medical history for example is not sufficiently capable of meeting that refugees needs and for that person to have a chance at living a healthy and full life, they need to be resettled to a third country.
  3. World leaders. The leaders of our world need to stop fighting about which country is doing and should be doing more and come together to form a plan. Some countries don’t take enough refugees and others take way too many, causing other problems in their societies. The task needs to be shared out with world leaders working together.
  4. Refugees

    Refugees bypassing border controls (Credit: AP/Vadim Ghirda)

    Borders. When refugees arrive at the border to some countries, they are sent back or pushed away, encouraged to take another, much more dangerous or much farther route to safety. All refugees should be allowed to pass through all borders for their own safety.

  5. Investigate and prosecute trafficking. Many refugees pay exorbitant prices to get to safety, often all their life savings, and even then, some people are blackmailed into paying more or being thrown overboard a full boat.
  6. Governments need to combat xenophobia and racial discrimination. Instead of blaming social and economic problems on refugees, Governments need to start putting plans into action to help refugees acclimatise to the society they have come to and even more so, encourage the mixing of refugees and the people from that country. All too often refugees end up in groups of other refugees with the locals looking upon them as a threat because of xenophobia. Governments need to do more to stop these situations arising.
  7. Fund “broke” UN. According to Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, those UN agencies set up to help refugees and displaced people are “financially broke.” The problem is that the wealthier countries make a lot of promises about giving money to help refugees but the truth is that the UN has received less than half the amount needed to support all of Syria’s 5.5 million refugees. Those wealthy countries need to step up the plate.
  8. Asylum Is A Human Right. While the way to stop people becoming refugees is to stop all the conflict and persecution that made them flee their country in the first place, we just don’t know when the resolutions to those conflicts will come. What we do know is that refugees need help now and one big way of helping is understanding that everyone has the right to feel safe and live without fear. Asylum is a very long and arduous process and the fear of being rejected is very stressful and actually being rejected is heart breaking.

People fleeing their homelands for whatever reason have it so hard and to be faced with the fear of being sent back to where they came from throughout their difficult journey must make their lives even more difficult. When they finally make it they are too often faced with suspicion, distrust, wariness and doubt and the locals are often afraid and uncertain about making friends with refugees, often due to some degree of xenophobia.

We can do so much to help without the interventions of governments by just accepting our new brothers and sisters into our communities. Being accepting goes such a long way to forging long lasting friendships and unbreakable bonds.

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