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The challenge
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-06-20 09:17:45
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Living in the EU I have seen refugees for decades coming not only for a better future but for the simple reason to save their and their children's lives and the bitter truth is that in the beginning of the twenty-first century the refugee reality becomes more and more challenging for all the world.

refugees01At this very moment more than forty million people all around the world have become refugees escaping from their homes, roots and countries because of violence and persecution and this doesn’t include a lot more millions that were forced to immigrate due to economic reasons. In contrast with the economic immigrants who are aiming the industrial west, refugees are often forced to escape anywhere as long they can survive away from their home violence and most of time anywhere is better than home.

refugees02_400And it is not only a civil war, warlords or a dictatorship the only reasoning, homosexuality is punished with death in most of the Middle East and Arab countries with Iran championing. And it doesn’t stop in the dark dictatorships, in Turkey to say anything about a Kurdish state or against the army means imprisonment, in Zimbabwe if you don’t agree with Mugabe you are an English spy and you endanger your life, in the ‘secure’ Iraq people sleep with a gun under their pillow.

People nowadays due to expanding information are more aware of their rights and rightfully they demand them, often having to face with a hard and injustice state. So you find people asking for the refugee’s status from the most surprising countries. The same time waves of refuges have to deal with local xenophobia and sometimes racism with latest example the embarrassing events in Soutrefugees03h Africa. The role of the hosting states becomes increasingly serious as well having except provide shelter and protection but to advocate and help to build a new life and this is were all the challenges start.

The role of the UN and the Refugee Agency is critical since they are oblige to make reality all the above, lead and help the host countries and most of all put a blueprint for all the government to secure health, education and protection for the refugees.

What we have to understand is that these people didn’t have a choice; the alternative to their fleeing would have been their life. And I have no idea how bold to make that for everybody to understand it, to tell you imagine living the circumstances that led them to their action is nothing to the reality they lived. Just think that 30,000 kids die every single day with the majority of them victims of wars and conflicts; just think what thousands of other kids have seen while our kids were playing in the park or at the seaside.

I don’t know if there is anything else to say but give a chance to these people who had none in their own homes.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-06-20 13:24:22
Here are some eye-catching challenging statistics (as per the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants), sure to raise some “politically correct” eyebrows:

Although developed countries contribute most of the funding to assist refugees, developing
countries host the vast majority of the world’s refugees. Combined, nations with per capita GDPs of less than $2,000 hosted almost two-thirds of all refugees. Nations with per capita GDPs over $10,000 hosted five percent of the world’s refugees. In many developing countries, refugees were a large portion of the total population.

And here is the detailed distribution: 66% (hosting 9.2 refugees) are countries with an income of 2,000 or less per year; 29% (hosting 4 million refugees) are countries with an income between $2,000 to 10,000; 5% (796,000 refugees) are countries with an income of over $10,000.

The three countries with most refugees (over a million) are Pakistan (1,877,800 refugees), Syria (1,852,300 refugees), Iran (1,003,100 refugees).

A fair interpretation of the above statistics is this: the wealthier the country (mostly EU and US), the less likely it will accept to be host to refugees, albeit it is more likely to attempt to resolve the problem by throwing money at it, thus appearing to be generous. To use an apt analogy, that is like the rich man meeting a smelly begging destitute and quickly producing a “generous” $ 5 bill, the quicker to get away from him, however the more generous giver remains he who takes the beggar in his home and takes care of him. Food for thought!

Thanos2008-06-20 14:16:14
This is a very sad fact and let's hope that will change, I suppose that's part of the challenge!

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