The majority of refugees and displaced persons are in Asia (including the Middle East) and Africa, which together account for 9.2 million refugees and 18.1 million displaced persons. It is therefore the poorest countries that receive most of these fragile and impoverished populations: while developing countries have generated 86% of refugees over the past decade, they have also received 72% of them.
An Invalid System
The global system of protection of refugees is useless. It is evident everywhere, from Australia to the huge reception camps of South Sudan, through the cold streets of Istanbul or the heavily fortified walls of the European Union.
Like other vulnerable groups, refugees run the risk of encountering legal problems. These problems are often directly related to the status of displaced persons. On the contrary they also reflect the more general difficulties faced by the poor in terms of family and civil and criminal law.
The longer a person’s displacement, the greater the number of legal problems, especially those that are less directly related to displacement. These problems are starting to put local institutions under strain.
Providing refugees who cross European borders with refugees is a priority challenge for host countries, who in turn refuse to accept requests for asylum. Once they are able to enter the labor market, they have a higher rate of unemployment than the natives (15% more) which, according to the Fund, will be 12% in 2020.
One of the major challenges of refugee arrivals is the provision of decent housing, which puts the real estate market and the willingness of governments to facilitate their integration into society. Rising housing prices in Europe, especially in areas where it may be easier to find a job, makes it difficult for refugees to afford a home in these places.
How to solve the refugee crisis:
- Opening safe routes for refugees to be safe is one of the priority measures. This means allowing people to join family members and granting visas to refugees so that they do not have to spend all their savings or risk drowning in order to be safe.
- Provide resettlement places to all refugees in need. Resettlement is a vital solution for the most vulnerable refugees, including victims of torture and those with urgent medical needs.
- At present, 1.15 million people urgently need this device. But until now, the wealthiest nations propose to resettle only 10% of these refugees each year. Amnesty estimates that 1.45 million refugees will require resettlement by the end of 2017.
- Saving lives must be the priority of leaders all over the world. No one should die crossing a border. However, nearly 7,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea for two years and the first sinking of large scale in October 2013.
- In May 2015, thousands of people fleeing persecution in Myanmar suffered for weeks on board boats, while Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia were responsible for helping them. States can put an end to this by organizing search and rescue operations and providing immediate assistance to people in distress.
Ending Trafficking in Persons and Racism
- All countries should investigate networks of trafficking in persons who exploit refugees and migrants and prosecute those responsible. They should also make the safety of people their top priority. Amnesty recently met with survivors in Southeast Asia who reported that traffickers had killed people in boats when their families could not pay ransom. Other people were thrown overboard, promised a certain drowning, or died of hunger and thirst.
- Governments must stop accusing refugees and migrants of being responsible for economic and social problems and, on the contrary, of combating all forms of xenophobia and racial discrimination. Acting otherwise is deeply unjust, exacerbates tensions and fears of foreigners, and sometimes leads to violence, and even death.