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CRISIS FACED BY REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

INTRODUCTION

It is unquestionable that people are still facing refugee and asylum seeker crises in the 21st century. There are times when this may shock one. Why does the genocide still exist? It is the painful unmourning trauma of forcefully displaced persons and asylum seekers who fled their lands due to fear of persecution and serious violations of human rights. They may be persecuted due to their race, sex, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. All the legal rights that an individual holds in their homeland are denied to them. Due to socio-political instability and geopolitical competition among nations, some types of crises aren’t even brought to light. Around the world, there are currently 100 million internally displaced people, more than at any time in modern history, with half of them being children. A stunning 111,000 children are being forced to survive alone, displaced without their families, according to the UNHCR’s global trends in forced displacement- 2018. Refugees are protected by various international laws. It is the responsibility of the UN Refugee Agency to ensure that refugees have the right to seek asylum, to help them meet their basic needs, and to bring a lasting solution to their plight. In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, countries whose borders are open to refugees must take them in. [1]They should not be expelled or sent back to their country of origin. Across the international community, the Global Compact on Refugees has called for action. Globally, the number of individual asylum applications increased by 25% in 2021 to 1.4 million from 1.1 million. Refugees and asylum seekers have high issues and need to be discussed in a broader sense by everyone in the nation rather than just being considered a news item.

THE CAUSES OF THE REFUGEE CRISIS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Persecution, war, climatic change, violations of human rights, gender, and sexual orientation have all caused millions of people to be forced from their homes.

PERSECUTION

The fear of prosecution has been a basis for refugee claims. Persecution includes social, religious, national, racial, and political persecution. When refugees’ human rights are threatened and the government fails to protect them, they are persecuted. Assassination, torture, sexual assault, arbitrary arrest, false imprisonment, and various forms of discrimination can all constitute persecution. Rohingya, the world’s most persecuted minority in Myanmar, have been subjected to religious persecution for several decades, causing 900,000 Rohingya to flee.

WAR

The first major international refugee crisis occurred during World War II when 60.0 million people were displaced[2]. As of now, the Russian-Ukraine War has been ongoing since 2022. 9.1 million people were displaced from their homes. A UNHCR report states that 2 million Syrian refugees have been registered in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, 3.5 million Syrians have been registered by the Turkish government, and over 33,000 Syrian refugees have been registered in North Africa. In addition, 2.7m Afghans and 2.3m Sudanese are among the number[3].

CLIMATE CHANGE

Floods, storms, droughts, and heatwaves are estimated to displace 41 people each minute as a result of extreme weather changes. In December 2018, the UN General Assembly addressed this growing concern directly. Climate change, environmental degradation, and natural disasters are increasingly influencing refugee movements. Since January 2019, 49,000 people in Somalia have been forced to leave their homes in search of food and water[4]. Climate change is a human rights issue, and we are responsible for it as human beings. All countries agreed in Paris to increase emission reductions and keep global temperatures below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels under the Global Climate Change Agreement. The effectiveness of most International Conventions, including the Public Trust Doctrine, the Common Heritage of Mankind, and the Province of all Mankind, is in question.

STATUS OF REFUGEE AND ASYLUM SEEKERS:

The refugee almost has no rights, which causes them to be treated very badly and poorly. Although they can move and travel, they cannot acquire citizenship in another country. While the powerful nation with its geopolitical competition ignores the pervasive persecution and injustice caused to these refugees. There is a common misconception that refugees and asylum seekers are the same. UN Convention on the Status of Refugees as amended by its 1967 Protocol (the Refugee Convention) defines a refugee as a person living outside their homeland, who fears persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. There are only two international instruments directly relating to refugees: the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Refugee Protocol. Furthermore, refugees were required to adhere to the asylum laws of the country and maintain public order. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, are those who have fled their own countries because of persecution and have applied for protection in another country without having their claim assessed[5]. Geneva Convention of 1951 granted people the right to seek asylum. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted to guarantee human rights and promote world peace. Refugees are protected from exploitation and ill-treatment under this law, which contains provisions related to life and liberty, prevention of slavery, protection from inhumane, tortuous, and degrading treatment, etc.

CONSEQUENCES:

Refugees are denied all rights, including socio-economic, political, and cultural rights. Various benefits that are guaranteed to citizens in a country are unavailable to them. As a result, they are denied the right to vote, employment, housing, education, and medical care. Men and boys are often killed, imprisoned, or forced to fight in conflicts. Often, they are forced to flee or go into hiding to protect their families. As a result of their gender, women, and girls also face particular forms of abuse. The victims are targeted for abuse, rape, forcible conception, slavery, and forced prostitution. In particular, children are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, denial of education, sexual violence, and exploitation and recruitment as child soldiers. The way human society can treat children in such a cruel way is beyond comprehension.  

CONCLUSION

There is a serious crisis of refugees and asylum seekers that needs to be addressed by the international community, such as the UN, and the international community should take effective steps for the complete repatriation of forced displaced people back to their homelands while assuring every human right that an individual has. There need to be more effective approaches and steps such as modifying labour formulations for all round development of refugees, establishing effective policy systems for the settlement and resettlement of refugees, and integrating refugees with the host community to protect as well as build a sense of safety for refugees. 

Author(s) Name: Mary Mahila D.C (SRM institute of Science and Technology)

References:

[1] Medicines Sans Frontieres, < https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/focus/migration-and-refugee-crisis,> accessed on July 10,2022.

[2] The state of the World’s Refugees 2000; Fifty Years of Humanitarian Action, Oxford University Press. 2000. p. 13, < https://www.unhcr.org/3ebf9ba80.html >, accessed on  July 15, 2022.

[3] Operational Data Portal, Refugee Situations, UNHCR, Government of Turkey, 30th June 2022, <https://data.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria > accessed on July 15, 2022.

[4] Epimonia, Biggest Causes Of  A Refugee Crisis, Mohamed Malim, November1, 2019,< https://epimonia.com/blogs/news/biggest-causes-of-a-refugee-crisis >, accessed on  July 15, 2022.

[5] Road to Refugees, State Of New South Wales (Department Of Education), 2020, https://www.roads-to-refuge.com.au/whois/whois_persecution.html#persecution, accessed on July 15, 2022.