Since 2011, some five million Syrians have fled from the armed conflict in their homeland and sought refuge abroad, the largest numbers of them going to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. But that massive exodus has now slowed to a trickle, and there are growing signs that some of the refugees may be ready to return to Syria.
In July, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that up to 450,000 uprooted Syrians had returned to their places of origin in the first six months of the year. While the vast majority of this number had been displaced within Syria, the organization said that it had also monitored the return of more than 30,000 refugees from neighbouring countries during the same period.… Seguir leyendo »
The current prominence of the issue of refugees around the world is understandable. Refugee influxes are highly visible, especially when they involve large numbers of people who are putting their lives at risk, crossing frontiers without authorization and congregating in squalid makeshift settlements. Their arrival raises difficult issues related to national sovereignty, state security and social cohesion.
But while these are important and pressing issues, the international community’s keen interest in the refugee problem has detracted attention from the fact that there are other groups of vulnerable people across the globe who are in equal, if not greater, need of human rights protection and humanitarian assistance – internally displaced people (IDPs).… Seguir leyendo »
In the short time since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has suspended the entire US refugee resettlement programme and barred the admission of citizens from a number of Muslim-majority countries that produce significant numbers of refugees, including Syria, Somalia and Iraq. This comes at a time when the international community is striving to ensure an effective follow-up to a September 2016 UN Summit on the refugee issue. The main outcome of that meeting was the New York Declaration, a document that ‘expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.’
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has suggested that the Declaration constitutes ‘a minor miracle’, given the highly contentious nature of the refugee issue.… Seguir leyendo »