Global Refugee Crisis: The Need for Humanitarian Solutions to Humanitarian Problems
Unless the international community undertakes a new determined push towards peacemaking, the rising trends of worldwide displacement will persist.
According to the United Nations' worldwide trends report 2021, annual displacement rates have risen over the past ten years, reaching their highest level since records have been kept. It further estimated that 89.3 million people were displaced by the end of 2021 and listed war, natural disasters, violence, persecution, and human rights violations as some of the causes.
The organization stated that the Ukraine crisis, coupled with other emergencies in Afghanistan, Africa, and other places, pushed the figure over the dramatic milestone and resulted in the quickest forced-displacement catastrophe since World War II.
Only five nations accounted for two-thirds of all refugees and displaced people: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar. In this scenario, more refugees from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia would only exacerbate the refugee problem in Europe while the conflict in Ukraine disrupts global food supply lines.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, low- and middle-income nations housed more than 80% of all refugees and Venezuelans displaced abroad. With 3.8 million refugees, Turkey had the world's highest refugee population, followed by Uganda, Pakistan, and Germany. Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey welcomed the most refugees per capita, accounting for one in every eight people.
Wars, persecution, and insecurity have pushed the number of refugees to peak levels. Instead of providing protection, many states have designed and built new barriers. Globally, refugees are fleeing political persecution and other severe threats, such as barrel bombs in Syria, razed villages in Myanmar, political unrest, crime, and hyperinflation in Venezuela. Most refugees travel to neighbouring countries to return home if circumstances change.
Meanwhile, many recently displaced refugees may find themselves in dire circumstances. The growing number of internally displaced people (IDPs) adds to global humanitarian concerns. Regardless of where they arrive, international law prohibits the forced return of refugees and asylum seekers to places where they may face harm. As a result, millions of refugees are concentrated in countries adjacent to those they fled. They may face decades of insecurity if they are denied the rights that come with citizenship.
Borders of different countries have been sealed and externalized, making it impossible for refugees and asylum seekers to claim asylum in the first place. Similarly, Turkey is erecting a six-meter-high wall along its border. This is a major path for asylum seekers, especially Afghans, into Turkey and beyond, which is why the border wall is sometimes referred to as a portal to Europe (Suleman, 2022).
When the snow melts and reveals hundreds of bodies, including pregnant women and children, the risks individuals incur on this road become evident. Their escape attempts had failed, leaving just a number etched on a gravestone in a nondescript graveyard in Van, thousands of miles away from Afghanistan.
Because of its geographical location, Turkey has been a destination for millions of Syrian migrants, with many Afghan refugees following suit. The harsh reaction to new arrivals is unjust. The officials defended it by claiming that the country is already overburdened and that the migratory situation requires a global response. Consequently, how many crises can the world handle at once.
The global refugee crisis has reached new heights in 2022. As a result, the United Nations asked international donors for funding to assist Afghans in the country and 5.7 million Afghan refugees in five neighbouring countries, preventing a full-fledged humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan.
Significantly, for millions of Afghans, daily existence has already been a grim battle for months, as a combination of Western sanctions and Taliban negligence has resulted in the utter breakdown of food distribution systems and an economic standstill. According to UN figures, 95% of Afghanistan's 38 million people do not have enough food to consume.
Amnesty International has proposed how international leaders, particularly the richest countries, may begin working together to address this major humanitarian issue.
One significant approach is to provide safe passage to refugee camps. This includes allowing people to reconcile with families and providing refugees with visas, so they don't have to spend their life savings and risk drowning to reach safety. It also entails relocating all refugees in need. Resettlement is a critical solution for the most vulnerable refugees, including torture survivors and those suffering from major medical conditions.
We fail to address the root causes of mass migrations while failing to respond to the refugee crisis. It is easier to respond to innumerable barriers, to close the door and look away. World leaders must also prioritize saving lives, and no one should have to die crossing a border.
All governments should investigate and prosecute trafficking groups that exploit refugees and migrants, putting people's safety first. Governments must also cease blaming refugees and migrants for economic and social difficulties and tackle all forms of racism and xenophobia. Acting otherwise is highly unjust, incites tensions and dread of immigrants, and can lead to violence - even death. No policies would be more effective than those that prevent persecution and political violence.
Notably, unless the international community undertakes a new determined push towards peacemaking, the rising trends of worldwide displacement will persist. The lack of holistic responses to help refugees is not new. Due to strict quotas, only a few find a haven. Because of long waiting lists, some people will never be able to relocate to a safe country. They all hear our words of sympathy but not much else. As the refugee crisis worsens, little is being done to provide comprehensive solutions not only to assist those war refugees but also to address the root causes of the need for people to flee their homes.