The Refugee Crisis

Wars, mainly civil wars, tough climatic conditions, economic hardships, and human rights violations are some of the major causes of the refugee crisis being experienced on a global scale. This crisis has mainly been fueled by the Syrian civil war that broke out in March 2011 that is currently viewed as the largest crisis that has displaced numerous people of this time. This civil war broke out during the Arab Springs revolt that erupted in Syria after fifteen boys were arrested and tortured for writing graffiti supporting the revolt. One of the boys was killed and the rest were brutally tortured which led to the continued protests that saw the government respond with deadly force killing hundreds of protestors. Five months later, the defectors from the army formed a rebel organization known as the Free Syrian Army that aimed to fight and overthrow the government, which ultimately saw the rise of the civil war to date.

It is evidenced that approximately 11 million natives from Syria fled their home country because of the on-going civil war. This year, it is believed that close to 13 million people will need humanitarian aid within the country with close to 6.5 million people being considered to be internally displaced within Syria most of whom are children. According to the UNHCR, approximately five million people have fled to Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon with huge numbers of people being accepted, particularly in Germany.

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Looking at a global view away from Syria there are other countries whose adverse conditions have seen the increase in refugees on a global scale with approximately 65.3 million people being recorded to have been displaced as of 31st December 2015, a 10% increment from the figure of 59.5 million in 2014 (Miliband).

These huge numbers are mainly a result of the continued war and unresolved disputes in Afghanistan; conflicts in Iraq and the growth of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab in Somalia, unrest in South Sudan and Sudan as well as past tribal disputes in Democratic Republic of Congo. These factors has seen huge numbers of people seeking asylum in various countries, refuge in displacement camps in neighboring countries and even attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea which has seen many immigrants lose their lives. Additionally, the refugees who attempt to get to Europe are always under threat of smugglers and human traffickers who seek to use them for slavery and cheap labor (UN News Centre).

With these increasing numbers, it is evident that measures need to be effected that will see the refugee crisis handled effectively. Primarily, there have been ongoing debates as to whether safe zones should be created within the home countries of these immigrants or whether they should be moved to better regions or countries including Europe and the United States. I believe that the solution lies in ensuring that refugees are settled within Europe and the United States away from their home countries as an immediate measure. The heads of states should see a political change that focuses letting more refugees into their countries in a unified manner. Refugees who seek asylum should be allowed to settle into such countries and even seek employment which will see them better their livelihood.

Most of the countries in Europe have the capabilities and resources of taking up numerous refugees with the assistance of other nations keeping in mind that no one country can provide homes to refugees and also effective systems need to be in place to ensure smooth resettlement of refugees. This means that asylum laws across Europe should be revised so as to ensure refugees at least find temporary homes in the countries they seek to stay in. Additionally, effective migration controls on the borders of various countries should be revised to ensure that migrants who are moving due to economic reasons are differentiated from those genuinely seeking asylum.

An example of a measure that is in line with this measure is the Merkel Plan that was developed by the European Stability Initiative. This plan is centralized on the resettlement of millions of refugees yearly from Turkey to various European Union member nations to ease the pressure on Greece and ensure migrants in Greece return to Turkey. This will involve turning Turkey into a safe country and would see people who had sought asylum in Turkey, having their asylum requests approved. This will make it easier for Syrian refugees to reach Europe through Turkey, without putting their lives at risk by crossing through the Mediterranean Sea and will also put an element of control in the border between Greece and Turkey (Politico).

This, however, is not the ultimate solution that should be sought in relation to ensuring that the refugee crisis is resolved. Even though countries give significant donations through reputable organizations that deal with human aid, this will not resolve the on-going crisis, which is ever on the increase year after year. Ultimately, resolving the issues within the home country of the refugees will be the solution that sees a huge reduction in the crisis (UNHCR).

For example, in Syria amongst other countries that are burdened with war, attempting to resolve the conflicts that exist between people and their governments would go a long way in reducing even the number of people who are internally displaced. This can also only be achieved through the intervention of first world states that have the necessary resources for the same. This can be achieved by investing towards peace and the rehabilitation of such states. Bringing peace in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan would go a long way in reducing the number of refugees in the world (Birnbaum). Most refugees from such countries usually lack the basic amenities necessary for survival including food, water and access to medical services. As much as this is the best solution to be effected, it is very difficult to be implemented mainly due to the resistance that might be faced by local governments when they feel that the international community is interfering with the affairs of their country. Additionally, not all countries will be onboard with this measure as it requires significant investments in relation to what donations might cost to them. It will also take many years to see its benefits as evidenced in Democratic Republic of Congo where even after the civil wars of 1996-2002, people have not gone back to their native country due to fear of the fact that they will not be able to claim their property (Crisis Group).

Based on the above reasons, to resolve the current numbers for refugee crisis especially in Europe, the co-operation of various nations including other European states will be paramount. Primarily, the United Nations has been receiving lower amounts for humanitarian aid in comparison to the amounts that they request exemplified by 11 billion US Dollars received in 2015 in comparison to the requested amount of 20 billion US Dollars. This makes organizations including the International Rescue Committee inefficient at carrying out their responsibilities, especially in Africa where most countries may have the financial capability to sustain the lives of refugees.

Financial aid distributed to refugee camps and particularly used to empower refugees in seeking employment, will see them becoming independent and ultimately able to move out of displacement camps and even going back home. On the other hand, first world countries in the exception of Germany and Sweden should increase the number of refugees that they allow into their countries as this will ultimately provide an immediate solution to those seeking immediate asylum. In the future, the World Bank amongst other financial institutions on a global scale should work towards empowering the countries that host refugees by giving them added economic support. This will help middle-income nations that host many refugees in ensuring that refugees are able to earn a living and contributing positively to the economy of a particular country. An example of such an initiative would be providing concessional loans to refugees that have lower interest rates and a longer repayment period, which give them a chance in sustaining their livelihoods.

 

Works Cited

Birnbaum, Michael. “Five Ways to Solve Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” The Washington Post, 8 Sept. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/08/five-ways-to-solve-europes-refugee-crisis/?utm_term=.cb9112dfdc8a. Accessed 7 November 2017.

Crisis Group. UN News Centre “What’s Driving the Global Refugee Crisis?” Crisis Group, 16 Sept. 2016, www.crisisgroup.org/global/what-s-driving-global-refugee-crisis. Accessed 7 November 2017.

UN News Centre. “The Causes of the Refugee Crisis: Mediterranean Refugee Death Toll in 2016 “Worst We Have Seen”. 25 Oct. 2016, Global Research. https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-Refugee-Crisis-Mediterranean-Death-Toll-in-2016-Worst-We-Have-Seen-United-Nations/5553467. Accessed 7 November 2017.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “UNHCR 6 Steps towards Solving the Refugee Situation in Europe.” The UN Refugee Agency, 4 Mar. 2016, www.unhcr.org/news/press/2016/3/56d957db9/unhcr-6-steps-towards-solving-refugee-situation-europe.html. Accessed 7 November 2017.