Academics

#033

UNHCR Global Trends – Forced Displacements in 2014

Looking for this document, I realized how much papers are produced by the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) every year. Their website is not the best website I’ve ever seen, but if you get to understand how it is built, you get access to hundreds of interesting documents, with stats and graphs, helping you to understand the refugees’ situation all around the world.

Well, it is not a happy story:
– 59.5 million individuals forcibly displaced worldwide;
– 13.9 million individuals newly displaced due to conflicts or persecution in 2014;
-an average of 42,500 people forced to leave their home per day (increase of four-fold in 4 years);
-51% of the refugees were below 18 year-old.
Some of the host countries are welcoming (I am not sure the verb “welcoming” is appropriate) more than a million refugees, while more than 3,000 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. The situation in Middle East is getting worse and worse. I am not half through this paper and I feel depressed. Is there anything I could do to help? I am not really sure.
I think about this friend, working for the UNHCR in Lebanon, thinking that he must have a crazy load of work, writing all those papers, documenting about refugees’ living conditions. But at least he’s taking part in this battle to try to make people’s lives better. I don’t even know what is happening in the Middle East, to be frank. I was reading about Yemen yesterday, struggling to remember people’s and places’ names. I was so into my own research and my own problems that I totally forgot to read the newspapers for months. It’s a catastrophe…

But the issue of refugees is huge in France right now. We have amazing politicians explaining to us that refugees make Paris dirty because they sleep on the streets or that they should go back to their home country and fight for freedom and peace. Right… Some others say that we should just let the UK deal with the refugees coming through the euro-tunnel, because after all, that’s not our problem if they want to go there. It is a huge mess. And of course, you have discourses about refugees being thieves, prostitutes or parts of drug cartels. Well… I don’t even want to comment that kind of crap. It makes me sad to see how refugees are considered a problem and a nuisance when they left they country because they had too. And actually, the majority of them are internally displaced people. Even the majority of the ones who left their homes are fleeing to neighboring countries like Turkey (1.59 million refugees), Pakistan (1.51 million) or Lebanon (1.15 million). Seriously, in Lebanon right now, you have 232 refugees for 1000 nationals! I am not saying that Europe is not “welcoming” many refugees. According to the same document, there were more than 3 million refugees in Europe by the end of 2014. And it is a great burden for some of us, such as Greece or Italy.
I do understand that “welcoming” refugees brings a lot of troubles. How to find accommodations? How to feed them? How to take care of them, physically and psychologically? How to make their stay bearable? How to make it work with local populations? Who is going to provide the financial help? But it’s not human to just say “well, they have a country, they should return and fight for their lives”, especially when you see that half of them are children!
All those politicians disgust me. They use the excuse of refugees to spread racist discourses, playing with people’s fear to be reelected and letting people die without even blinking. For me, that’s a no no.

***

Listening to: BIGBANG – 우리 사랑하지 말아요 (Let’s Not Love)

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