War, political turmoil, ethnic conflicts, and deteriorating economies have forced millions across Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia to flee their homes. According to Amnesty International, more than 22 million people are now displaced in the world as of 2019. At the end of 2018, 2.3million more were forcibly displaced than just a year earlier. Who are the uprooted? They are refugees. They are refugees who have crossed borders in search of safety.
As stated by UNHCR, two-third of all refugees come from just five countries. Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia saw millions leaving because of conflict and persecution. Where are they going? Refugees are disproportionately hosted not by the wealthy nations of the west but by poor and middle-income countries next to their own. As claimed by UNHCR, Turkey tops the list of hosting countries with 3.74m people, followed by Pakistan with 1.4m, Uganda with 1.17m, Sudan with 1.07m, and Germany on 5th of the list hosting 1.06m refugees. Bangladesh currently is also hosting over 1.3m refugees.
The most recent refugee crisis occurred in the Rohingya people of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Rohingyas are a Muslim minority in Myanmar regarded by many Myanmar Buddhists as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. The Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for generations and the Bangladesh government has called for Myanmar to take back the refugees. They are denied citizenship in Myanmar and have been described as the world’s most persecuted minority. Myanmar has denied persecuting the Rohingyas. Extreme violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have caused more than 900,000 Rohingya people, an ethnic and religious minority, to flee their homes in search of safety. Leaving nearly all their possessions behind, the majority of the Rohingya people have fled across the border into Bangladesh.
Moreover, even if the number of refugees increases, the opportunities to find them another home in a different country is in dramatically short supply. Resettlement is a life-saving tool for refugees who are most at risk. As stated by UNHCR 1.4m people needed to be resettled in 2018, but only 92 thousand were.
The continuing rise of refugees is sobering. But there is hope and determination too. The Global Compact on Refugees adopted in 2018 calls for action across the international community. Governments are engaging. Individuals, Nonprofit Organisations are taking part. This Approach promotes work and self-reliance for refugees and education for their children, or inclusiveness can bring benefits for all.
As global trends in forced displacement show, there’s but one path forward. We must act together. Our solidarity across societies will power change and promote solutions, and give refugees a chance to aspire to a better future.