The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported in June of 2016 that 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015. This is the highest number of refugees since World War II.
The report found that, measured against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY REFUGEES?
A 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that climate change hastened civil war in Syria; record level droughts led to the social unrest there that became an open uprising in 2011 and eventually a civil war. The worst drought in Syrian history, from 2006 to 2011, destroyed small scale agriculture and caused families to migrate to the cities. The drought also drove up food prices. These factors added to the social stresses already created from refugees pouring in from the war in Iraq. Here’s a video that explains this humanitarian crisis.
According to the report, forced displacement has been on the rise since the mid-1990s but has increased dramatically over the last five years due to:
- 30 years of civil war in Somalia
- 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan.
- Wars have broken out in South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine and Central African Republic.
- Central America’s Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras— is one of the most violent regions in the world outside of a war zone. Decades of civil war and gang violence have created a humanitarian crisis there.
- A lack of solutions to the refugee crisis.
MOST REFUGEES NOT IN EUROPE
- Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia produce more than half of the world’s refugee.
- Colombia, Syria and Iraq have the largest number of internally displaced people.
- 86% of refugees are in low and middle-income countries close to war zones.
- Turkey, the biggest host country, hosted 2.5 million refugees.
- Lebanon hosted more refugees (1 million) compared to its population than any other country.
- Jordan: Nearly a million
- Germany has taken 300,000 refugees.
- More than 38,000 have applied for asylum in Sweden, which offers permanent residency.
- Canada; 31,000
- France: 30,000 over two years.
- Venezuela: 20,000
- United States: 10,000
- Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Israel have refused to take any Syrian refugees.
- 51% of the refugees are children. Many are separated from their parents or traveling alone.
REFUGEES ARE NOT TERRORISTS
According a new article in The Atlantic, “Where America’s Terrorists Actually Come From,”
Nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.
The article highlights the research of immigration expert, Alex Nowrasteh, of the libertarian Cato Institute, He found:
Six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis, and one Yemeni have been convicted of attempting or executing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil during between 1975 and 2015, No Libyans and no Syrians have been convicted of terrorism.
Over the last four decades, 20 out of 3.25 million refugees welcomed to the United States have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all by Cuban refugees in the 1970s.
Both Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright were refugees. Curious George and The House of the Spirits were written by refugees. Here is a list from the New York Times of 25 important books written by refugees.
Peggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She founded Mothering.com in 1995 and was its editor-in chief until 2012. Peggy was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of three.