Refugee Crisis: A case of Developing Countries

Subject: Political
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 1752
Topics: Citizenship, Immigration, Political Science, Refugee, Statistics
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Introduction

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2017 global report on refugees indicate that over 65.6 million people across the globe had been forcibly displaced from 1997 to 2016 as a result of violence, conflicts, persecution or violation of human rights. This as an estimated increase of more than 300,000 individual as compared to 2015. UNHCR (2017) approximate that over 20 persons are newly displaced every minute worldwide. Over the years, the rate of displaced population has been ever increasing. During 2017, the rate of newly displaced people reached 10.3 million where 6.9 million were internally displaced while over 3.4 million were new asylum seekers and refugees. Developing nations accounted the highest number of refugees, over 84% refugees from or in developing countries are under the mandate of UNHCR accounting for about 14.5 million refugees (UNHCR, 2017). Developed nations have increasingly faced by an overarching responsibility to offer asylum of the refugees to the growing population accounting to over 28% of the global total displaced populations (Edmond, 2017; UNHCR, 2017). This paper denotes the refugee problem in developing nations and probable mitigation strategies.

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Refugee Menace in Developing Nations

According to UNHCR (2017) report, about 55% of the global refugees come of three countries namely Syrian Arab Republic accounting g for 5.5 million people, Afghanistan, 2.5 million and South Sudan, 1.4 million by end of 2016. In 2016, it is reported that more than half of the Syrian population were displaced in 2016 internally or externally. South Sudan was recorded to constitute of the fast-growing population of refugees where the numbers grew by 64% by the third quarter of 2016, the majority of the victims being women and children (Edmond, 2017; Khoudour & Andersson, 2017; UNHCR, 2017). Conversely, Turkey offered the asylum to over 2.9 million displaced persons, Pakistan accounted for 1.4 million; Lebanon, 1.0 million; Iran, 979,400 people while Uganda and Ethiopia 940,800 and 791,600 individuals respectively (UNHCR, 2017)(See figure 1).

The political unrests and militia conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa significantly contributed to the increasing global refugee problem. Over 737,400 people were displaced in South Sudan, over 121,700, 81,900, 69,600, 69,500, and 64,700 people from Burundi, Iraq, Eretria, Afghanistan, and Nigeria respectively (UNHCR, 2017).

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Humanitarian Crisis

According to UNHCR (2017), Khoudour and Andersson (2017) and Amnesty International (AI) (2015), Syria is facing the most dramatic humanitarian across the globe. Amnesty International (2015) notes that over 95% of the Syrian refugees are hosted in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. The global response of the Syrian refugees has been a contentious issue as the global community is accused of not sufficient committing to resolving the issue. According to a report by Amnesty International in 2015, by June 3, 2015, only 23% of the Syrian refugee humanitarian appeal was funded by the UN (Khoudour & Andersson, 2017). Shortage of funds has forced many aid agencies to progressively cut down financial grants to refugees. The country a relatively small option for humanitarian admission and resettlement places for the most susceptible refugees (AI, 2015). The failure for the international community to sufficiently fund the humanitarian need and respond to the Syrian refugee crisis has noted to lead to an exacerbation of the problem. Consequently, countries hosting the Syrian refugees are devastated by the high number of people seeking refuge in their countries; the situation is worsened by the insufficient funds accorded to them by the global community. This has led to the neighboring countries to impose a very stringent restriction of people fleeing from the Syrian conflicts.

According to AI (2015), Lebanon hosted the majority of the Syrian refugees accounting for over 1.2 million people, followed by Jordan accommodating 627,287 people besides 13,800 Palestinian refugees of Syrian origin. In addition to reduced humanitarian funding, the World Food Program (WFP) is noted to have cut its food assistance to the Syrian refugees by 30% across all the main host countries. Lebanon is noted to have to receive US$ 19 per month from the US $27 monthly, making it harder for the host countries to sustainably accommodate the refugees as well limiting the coping threshold of the refugees (Amnesty International, 2015).  Most of the refugees live below the poverty lines of the most nations hence forced to use negative mechanisms such as seeing employment in high-risk jobs and reduced food consumption among others in order to cope the circumstances (AI, 2015; UNHCR, 2017).  In addition, the refugees work for excessive hours and borrow so much from neighbors as well as engage in criminalities to sustain themselves. The problem associated with the refugees lead to neighboring countries tightening border patrol as well as closing their borders in an attempt to curb entry of refugees. Turkey is the only country that continually maintained open borders to the refugees since 2012 but also closed its borders in 2015 citing security concerns; nonetheless, it hosts over 1.7 million Syrian refugees.

In reference to the sub-Saharan African region, it has the long-standing and largest population of refugees with an approximate of over four million. Somalia has constantly been the leading source of migrants and refugees in Kenya, Chad, and Ethiopia hosting an increasing number of refugees. Khoudour & Andersson (2017) and Edmond (2017) indicate that the refugee crisis is an insurmountable economic menace in the region be beyond. South Sudan has equally continued to supply increasing number of refugees over the past years (see Figure 3).

Amnesty International (2015) and Khoudour & Andersson (2017) point out that lack of alternative resettlement and humanitarian help has increasing forced Syria’s refugees to opt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe seeking for a better life. Most of the refugees end up dying in the Sea due to overloading of the boats and use of archaic boats to trying to cross to Europe. The refugees succumbing to death in the Mediterranean Sea only encompass refugees from Syria but as well as South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 1,200 migrants and refugees comprising of Somalia, Eritrea, Senegal, Mali, and Syria nationals died when two boats from Libya sank in the Sea on April 2015 while trying to access the European borders (Amnesty International, 2015). The Mediterranean Sea is a den of refugee deaths as it is the main route used by the refugees. In 2014, an estimate of 219,000 departed from Libyan shores on boats to Europe by only 141,000 made it Italy (Amnesty International, 2015).

Remedy to the Refugee Crisis

The refugee crisis increasingly continues to be a global concern despite the many strategies put in place both at international and local levels of the hosting countries. Political conflicts more so dictatorship reigns and militia terrorist groups such as Isis in Syria. Libya and Yemen, Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria to ever border conflicts between India and Pakistan and Israel and Palestine among other political engineered strife are the leading contributor to the refugee crisis. Climate change is equally becoming a reckoning agent of displacing people (Amnesty International, 2015).

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Conventionally, resettlement of refugees to a third country, voluntary repatriation, and local integration have been the common intervention. Nevertheless, these strategies have proved inefficient and insufficient to curb the refugee crisis, thus a dire need for more durable approaches. The UN member states committed under the New York Declaration for Migrants and Refugees on September 19, 2016, to develop a CRRF (Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework) for the protracted situation and emergencies for forcibly displaced populations (UNCR, 201; Khoudour & Andersson, 2017). The Declaration aims at integrating governments, development and humanitarian actors as well as refugees to determine durable and sustainable remedies to the crisis.

Voluntary repatriation remains one of the most durable and effective solutions to the refugee problem, however, a very complex matter. Literally, returning a refugee to a country that is amidst of chaos is not a plausible solution; therefore, the first step to voluntary repatriation is helping the conflicting countries to attain stability. Without restoring order and stability voluntary repatriation inhuman. In cases where the order has been stored, the repatriation process must be conducted with dignity and utmost safety where both the asylum and counties of origin sufficiently support the process on a voluntary basis as opposed to coercion. According to UNHCR (2017), this program resulted in over 552,000 refugees returned home in 2016 compared to 201,400 in 2015 (UNHCR, 2017) (See Figure 4). The program is only sustainable in the country in strife is helped to restore order.

Resettlement is another plausible option, where UNHCR helps to transfer and settle refugees in a third country besides the country of asylum or origin more so in cases where the needs of the refugee cannot be met by the host country. The resettlement countries take in the settled person as part of their legal citizens offered equal privileges as to the nationals. In 2016, over 189,300 refugees were resettled accounting on 77% increased as compared to 2015 (UNHCR, 2017).

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An alternative option to repatriation and resettlement is local integration where the refugees are assimilated and integrated into the host country. In this case, they are entitled to separate but equally essential economic, legal, cultural, and social aspects of the host country. The process is gradual and complex (Ruaudel & Morrison-Métois, 2017; Amnesty International, 2015; UNHCR, 2017).

In conclusion, refugees are a global problem that increasingly worsens more so with climate change displacements. In regard to political conflicts, the requisite and probably the most paramount option to curbing the problem is by the international community settling up strategies to restore order in the conflicting countries. For instance, if the Al-Shabaab militia of Somalia are disarmed and source of their funds and weapons cut, the country would attain stability hence easy and sustainable repatriation.  Equally, if international community manages to solve Syria’s situation, the Israel-Palestine conflicts, political conflicts in Sub-Sahara Africa and Asia among other conflicts, the countries would resume order hence able to retain and sustain its citizens in addition to encouraging fled citizens to return home. However, it the problems faced by countries of origin are not resolved amicably, the refugee shall ever continue to be a menace.

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  1. Amnesty International. (2015). The Global Refugee Crisis: A Conspiracy of Neglect. London, UK: Amnesty International.
  2. Edmond, C. (2017, June 20). 84% of refugees live in developing countries. Retrieved June 2, 2018, from World Economic Forum: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/eighty-four-percent-of-refugees-live-in-developing-countries/
  3. Khoudour, D., & Andersson, L. (2017). Assessing the contribution of refugees to the development of their host countries (DEV/DOC(2017)1). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  4. Ruaudel, H., & Morrison-Métois, S. (2017). Responding to Refugee Crises in Developing Countries: What Can We Learn From Evaluations? (OECD Working Papers). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  5. UNHCR. (2017). Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
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