A Crisis From Freedom

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Syrian refugees strike in front of Budapest Keleti railway station. Refugee crisis. Budapest, Hungary, Central Europe, 3 September 2015. Image from Wikicommons.

by Josh Phillips

Over the past few years, a dramatic amount of refugees have been displaced around the world. According to the New United Nations data, 82.4 million people were displaced by the end of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in more than 1  percent of the world’s population being displaced from their countries of origin. 

The importance of this crisis is that fact that these numbers keep growing. The pandemic, Taliban issues, and other social injustices have only caused further negative effects.

Most students don’t know, but refugees are our neighbors. They re-ignite economies, and have kept our countries afloat during COVID-19 by making major contributions to healthcare, teaching, and the food industry.

There are a few reasons for this crisis: among them are the 2011 civil war in Syria, the economic collapse in Venezuela, gang violence in Central America, and the plague in Somalia that has been ongoing for decades.

The only financial aid working on this crisis is the International Rescue Committee (the IRC). The IRC focuses on health care, protection of vulnerable women and children, education, and economic recovery in Syria, while also focusing more on community- driven developments in other countries like Afghanistan and Europe. In the USA, the IRC resettles refugees and assists families seeking asylum at the southern US border.

After the Trump administration put a travel ban in place, reducing the amount of refugees allowed to enter the country for resettlement to 30,000 people, families in Central America have been seeking safety at the border due to gang violence. 

Since the Trump administration left behind a broken asylum system, families have been separated and the Migrant Protection Protocols forcibly returned women and children seeking asylum back to Mexico. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has startled the world, the excuses have only grown.

More recently, the Taliban has caused thousands of Afghans to flee their hometown. Alongside the dangers of the Taliban, many Afghans are still at risk of being targeted for their past association with coalition forces  or Afghanistan’s former president. Many governments have agreed to resettle refugees from Afghanistan like Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

As a society, we need to accept people for who they are, not where they’re from.

To help refugees from around the world, you can donate to the UNHCR, a refugee companion company that helps provide shelter to 2 million refugees. Individually, there are a lot of ways to help refugees. For example, you can volunteer to refugee assistance programs or participating in refugee fundraising events.

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