Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

The Plight of the Refugees


The Plight of the Refugees

In many countries of the world because of different sorts of social and political problems, people are forced to leave their countries and move to other parts of the world in search of better lives and opportunities. Such people can be termed as refugees. According to the Geneva Refugee Convention, a refugee is defined as, "A person with a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion". In the contemporary world of ours the number of refugees has increased to a large extent as the discontent and social injustices and political clashes have been able to multiply in different parts of the world.

The third world countries are in the forefront in this regard. The economic instability has given birth to myriads of problems, people instead of dying of hunger and starvation prefer to leave their countries and move towards the developed countries of the world. They are also threatened by civil wars and communal riots, which are also the result of economic instability and dearth of rudimentary requirements of life. Apart from that famines and draughts can also be the reasons of people leaving their countries.

The countries that have the most number of refugees moving to the other parts of the world include the ones that are badly hit by the same factors. They include the unfortunate countries in Africa, some countries in Asia and some others in Middle East. For example, from Somalia about 170,000 people have escaped to neighboring countries since January this year, with most of them claiming the famine, drought and insecurity as the reasons of their movement. Another example can be cited of Libya; the growing clashes in the country have compelled about 1 million people to leave their country because of the fear of losing their lives. More statistics in this regard can further help to understand the intensity of the matter.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti are hosting about 450,000 Somali refugees, who have been displaced from their country as a result of the worst drought in 60 years. Apart from that Liberia has more than 150,000 Ivorians stationed as refugees on its land. Moreover, there are already million of people in European countries and America who have moved there as refugees. Our own country Afghanistan has been one of the countries that have produced a lot of refugees who have left the country and are now living their lives in Europe or America. Most of these refugees were forced to leave the country because of the series of civil wars, ethnic conflicts and intense poverty. But situation has been better after the fall of Taliban.

The refugees of the world, according to Geneva Refugee Convention have certain rights that have to be cared for and respected by the international community. This Convention was adopted in July 28th, 1951, as a surety to safeguard the rights of the hopeless refugees. It has been 60 years now since its formal adoption and still survives as the corner stone of the refugee rights. The refugees after leaving their countries have to go through many difficulties before they reach to some where safe and sound.

Because of not having money or other facilities, many of them have to travel through risky routes. There have been occasions when refugees have had to go through mountains on foot or through the seas on boats; most of the times becoming the victims of merciless death or unimaginable cruelty. There have been concerns in this regard in many countries of the world to which and through which the refugees move. Many of these concerns are still not dealt with appropriately though UNHCR has been trying to direct the attentions of the international community towards them.

Further, because of the differences in the national laws of the different countries towards refugees the situation has become more complicated. There have been many reports of inhumane behavior towards refugees in many countries of the world, wherein they are harshly beaten; they are not kept in camps rather they are thrown in detention centers.

Most of them are even deported to their countries to face further miseries. Human rights organizations really have to take serious notice of human rights violations in such incidents. As Antonio Guterres – the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has observed, "We need protection-sensitive borders so those in fear for their lives or freedom continue to find it. At the same time we need to find innovative ways to fill the increasingly clear gaps in the international protection system and to promote the values of tolerance and inclusion rather than fear and suspicion."

Another issue related to the displacement of refugees is the growing concerns of the host nations. The host nations claim that they do have their own problems to handle, and the indefinite flow of refugees on their lands can multiply their troubles. Further, the concerns related to the clash among people of different cultures have recently been refreshed as well. Apart from that the European countries and America have been very cautious about the issue of terrorism as well.

Therefore, they try to limit the number of refugees they receive in order to avoid such troubles. Recently, Australia has been going through a decision making process regarding the refugees who have reached to their land and many others who are on their way. They are yet to reach a decisive position wherein they can satiate the growing concerns of the anti-refugee sentiments in the country and the pathetic plight of the refugees, who have left everything just to find some opportunities of a safer and better life.

The issue of the refugees is an international issue and the entire international community has to bear the burden of teeming millions. They can make it happen through an international organization like United Nations Organization by providing more authority to it. International law in this regard has to be modified as per the prevailing concerns and the Refugee Convention must be adhered by all countries of the world, especially the ones that have to bear the burden of the refugees. Definitely, every country has the right to have its own laws and regulations in the country and also possesses the rights to give more attention to its own people, but at the same time every country has to play its part as far as international problems are concerned and refugees' displacement is one the most dominating of the same problems.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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