Refugee crisis: A humanitarian challenge for modern civilization

Published : Tuesday, 16 May, 2023 at 12:00 AM

Millions of people have been forced to escape their homes because of war, persecution, and economic hardship, making this one of the worst refugee crises in history. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are more than 30 million refugees in the world today, in addition to millions more who are internally displaced. The latest wars in Sudan and in Russia-Ukraine have added to the global refugee problem, which already saw a significant increase in the number of displaced people. Sadly, little is being done to reduce the number of refugees or to repatriate them, despite the fact that organizations like UNHCR are effective enough to predict the number of refugees at the very beginning of a war. Hence, this crisis is fast becoming a threat to the modern civilization.

The size of the worldwide refugee issue has more than doubled in the last decade. The UNHCR reported that the number of total displaced people had topped 100 million in 2022, which means that more than 1.2% of the world’s population had been compelled to flee their homes. More than 32.5 million of them are refugees.

Western countries have mostly stopped paying attention to the 12-year civil war in Syria. It’s the consequences of the US and UK’s repugnant decision to hand over control of the country to the Taliban in Afghanistan. There is no need to elaborate on what transpired in Ukraine. The problem is currently getting worse because of the civil war in Sudan. Forced migration is influenced by a number of factors, including conflicts, terrorism, and ongoing instability in nations like Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Mali, as well as the cumulative human effects of the global climate emergency and population expansion.

Over 14 million Ukrainians have abandoned their homes as a result of the ongoing Russian invasion; some 6 million of them have left the nation entirely in search of safety outside the lines of the conflict. The great majority of refugees globally are taken in by developing countries, despite the fact that wealthier countries have significantly more resources to accommodate and aid refugees. This frequently happens as a result of being close to crisis areas. In contrast to wealthy nations, these host nations are unique in that they do not turn away refugees.With the latest turmoil in Sudan, the refugee issue is now out of grasp. The mixed migration situation in and through the country, in the region, and beyond creates various problems in the event of a protracted conflict in Sudan. More than 330,000 people have fled their homes within Sudan as a result of the conflict, and over 100,000 more have crossed international borders, mostly to Egypt, Chad, and CAR. According to UNHCR, as long as there is fighting in Sudan between the army and a paramilitary organization, more than 800,000 people could potentially flee to nearby nations.  The battle, which started on April 15, caused an estimated 334,000 people to be internally displaced, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Since the global refugee issue has been escalating for years, it is crucial that all nations respond to any instances of displacement with compassion and resources. The 14th most populous nation in the world would be represented by the 100 million people who have been forcibly moved worldwide. Vietnam (97 million people) and Egypt (102 million) are two nations with comparable populations.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken the initiative to help mediate a settlement to the ongoing crisis in Sudan in a fresh demonstration of its function as an impartial mediator. In the event that the opposing sides’ goals are sincere, the meeting opened the door to a long-lasting resolution. The initial framework agreement prioritizes the security and welfare of the Sudanese people. The second phase, which Saudi Arabia and the US are currently pursuing, is to achieve a long-term truce.

The present refugee crisis is a result of a variety of circumstances, such as violence, persecution, and economic hardship. Many people are escaping war-torn nations as refugees. Those who are being persecuted because of their ethnicity, religion, or political views are also fleeing. Many people are leaving their homes as a result of economic hardship in search of better work prospects and a higher standard of living.

The refugee crisis has a profound effect on refugees. The experiences of many refugees have traumatized them. Children are especially at risk because they can be taken away from their families or made to grow up in refugee camps with little access to healthcare or education. The nations that are hosting refugees are likewise significantly impacted by the refugee crisis. Numerous obstacles that host countries confront put a strain on their infrastructure and resources can cause conflict in the local community. Security issues can affect the countries that are hosting refugees since they could be prey to terrorist or criminal organizations.

The global economy and human condition are being severely harmed by the refugee issue. Although numerous governments, including the US, the UK, European and Middle Eastern countries, have been found to mediate between the warring parties recently, particularly in the Russia-Ukraine War and the current Sudan War, the majority of these nations have remained silent in Afghanistan, Yemen, or Syria. Most of these nations remained mute when the Westerners destroyed Libya or Iraq. The refugee situation has already reached a point where remaining silent will soon result in complete catastrophe. A cease-fire cannot be a meaningful solution here.

None of the developed countries are actually doing anything to repatriate those displaced people, even if they frequently talk about aiding the refugees and organizations like the UNHCR serve as coordinators. Unfortunately, despite living in subpar conditions on Bangladeshi land for years, no significant effort was made to repatriate the 2 million Rohingya refugees (before, during and after 2017). While Bangladesh struggles with so many natural calamities including cyclones, floods, earthquakes, landslides, environmental pollution, deforestation, and many other problems, especially during the monsoon season, these nations and donor organizations were deeply worried for the welfare of the Rohingya refugees. If we don’t take decisive action to repatriate the refugees from all around the world, our concern is meaningless. The refugee crisis is sparing no race, religion, caste or any other human attributes.

Regrettably, in this era of modern civilization, when we have many topnotch global leaders, intellectuals like Nobel laureates, social workers etc. the number of refugees and forcibly displaced people are increasing at a fast pace. It will always remain as a burden on our soul. Many animal lovers are fighting for restoring and protecting the habitat of different animals. But the greatest creature of this planet – human are losing their habitats everyday while we are in the business of arms and ammunitions. This cannot be the attribute of modern civilization. The children of war or genocide can be the greatest burden of the society as they can easily be diverted to terrorism and extremism due to lack of fundamental rights like education. Hence, the head of states, societies and every other field should put their focus on this crisis to save humanity and civilization.

While we should work to reduce the number of refugees, we are getting into works which is actually increasing the number of refugees. As we are claiming to strengthen the civilization, from our acts of wars and oppression, it seems like we are going back towards barbarism. The global leaders along with organizations like UN, UNHCR must act strongly to stop any kind of war anywhere irrespective of the conflicting parties’ assets, religion, political importance or any other attributes. Humanity should become the only priority in these cases. Strong and effective measures are required to repatriate the refugees from all around the world. People should gain back their rights. It is now time to think about permanent rather than temporary solutions.

We think that the world’s leaders can significantly contribute to ending the appalling situation of the refugees if they have good intentions and take decisive action. The world will quickly change if people concentrate on the rights of the refugees rather than just expressing sympathy for them. We hope, ‘refugee crisis’ meets its extinction in the near future.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA) and Editor at Kishore Bangla


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