At the end of 2016, the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) reported 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, a third of which qualified as refugees, over half of whom were under the age of 18. An additional 10 million stateless people have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
Many additional persons began the journey out of their homeland but died in route to another country. In a world where nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day because of conflict or persecution, the humanitarian crisis will continue to worsen.
While many view this problem as primarily a problem of the Middle East and Europe, only about 14% of global refugees attempt entry into the EU or other upper income nations (See Stiftung 2017 book in References.) An article by Patrick Kingsley notes how British and other European leaders have made extremely untrue and exaggerated claims about refugee flow into European countries. The crisis of mass displacement is a global humanitarian problem, which demands global solutions. Prejudice and xenophobic variations across nations make solving refugee issues extremely challenging.
Visionary leadership needs to be developed in setting up strong refugee systems that remain sustainable in part by reinforcing the virtues of solidarity and compassion.
Below are more concrete steps that can be taken to better resolve the global refugee crisis:
Longer-term, broader social change is needed concurrently with the above projects or proposals. Such social change must address these types of problems: cultivating the roots of socioeconomic development; improvements in education and vocational training; healthcare systems for all citizens and refugees; respect for good governance and the rule of law; respect for deep democracy; and most importantly, systems that support enforcement of civic and other human rights.
Stiftung, B. (2017). Escaping the Escape: Toward Solutions for the Humanitarian Migration Crisis. Gutersloh, DE: Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung.
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