BloggersUnite, bloggers who blog for hope, has chosen November 10 to write about Refugees United, the “only online, highly secure and anonymous possibility of refugees to reconnect with family.”
Leading up to November 4, I have primarily focused this blog on the presidential election. Now I am expanding to include musings on social concerns, activism, and ideologies. I have joined BloggersUnite and this is a good place to start.
In doing some research on refugees, I am startled to learn that, according to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), “…in 2007, more than 14 million people worldwide fled their homes because of war and persecution.” This is a staggering number. Almost equally startling is the USCRI’s “…ten worst violators of the international principles of providing refuge as outlined by the U.N. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.” Here’s the list:
- Bangladesh: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 177,600
- China: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 323,600
- Europe: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 252,000
- India: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 420,400
- Iraq: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 44,800
- Kenya: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 319,400
- Malaysia: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 155,700
- Russia: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 159,500
- Sudan: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 310, 500
- Thailand: Number of refugees and asylum seekers: 406,000
Refugees settling in these countries often face overcrowded camps, rape, torture, domestic violence, being sold into slavery, caning, detention against their will, and being returned to their native countries with the possibility of execution.
Also disturbing are these number of new refugees for 2008:
- Iraq: 561,100
- Somalia: 71,700
- Central African Republic: 25,300
- Zimbabwe: 22,200
- Chad: 20,000
- Eritrea: 15,600
- Congo-Kinshasa: 11,700
The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children reports these unsettling and disturbing facts:
Women and adolescent girls in refugee settings are especially vulnerable to exploitation, rape and abuse.
There are many organizations trying to help refugees. The Administration for Children & Families division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an Office of Refugee Resettlement. This is its mission: “Founded on the belief that newly arriving populations have inherent capabilities when given opportunities, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides people in need with critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society.” Its many programs include: Anti-Trafficking in Persons, Cuban Haitian, Ethnic Community Self-Help, Microenterprise Development, Repatriation, Services for Survivors of Torture, and Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. Check the website for the complete list.
It is really easy to stay cocooned in the comfort of our own homes and forget or block out the fact that there are millions of mostly women and children all over the world who have been forced from their homes and are living in horrendous circumstances due to war and persecution. The USCRI lists the top 20 countries that donate to the cause of refugees in a contribution per capita in U.S. dollars. Tops on that list is Luxembourg, whose citizens give on average $28.64. The U.S. is 15th on the list; we give, on average $2.16.
Consider reading more about the plight of refugees and giving to help their plight. Thanks for reading.