FOLLOWING are just 4 of the geographical origins of those seeking refuge in countries other than the places of their birth or citizenship. There are many more but these give an indication of the depth of persecution, physical danger and restriction that millions of people are suffering the world over.
“Syria’s civil war has created the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.” The war has killed a reported 470,000 people with bombings destroying crowded cities and horrific human rights violations being widespread. Basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse. The situation worsened when outside parties began launching airstrikes in 2015. Then in December 2016, fighting in Aleppo City intensified and the final stronghold within the city, fell. So it’s an understatement to say that families are struggling to survive inside Syria. Their options are to try and make new homes in neighboring countries or to risk their lives to travel further afield hoping to find acceptance and opportunity. This UNHCR site has images and information that reminds us of the people, the culture and the devastation that has shattered lives forever.
Major wars and persecution – the 1979 Soviet invasion and the Afghan Civil War (1992-96) where the mujahideen took over control of Kabul and the other major cities – have meant that about three in every four Afghans have endured internal, external or multiple displacement in their lives. The mass flight of Afghans from their homes has occurred in the context of human rights abuses on a massive scale under Taliban rule. So in 2015, there were 2.7 million Afghan refugees, the world’s second largest group after Syrians. … However “in the 1980s, Afghan asylum seekers in the US obtained asylum more easily than other groups facing comparable persecution because they discredited communism. Today, they have a harder time than other groups fleeing from similar circumstances because they are associated with Islamist terrorism.”
Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes in Iraq because of the Kurdish rebellions during the Iran–Iraq War (1980 to 1988); Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (1990) and the Gulf War (1991); the subsequent sanctions against Iraq; and the violence during and after the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. The migration of engineers, artists, lawyers, academics, doctors has dismantled many cultural institutions and stripped Iraq of the services that these professionals provide. The infant mortality rate increased 150 percent from 1990 to 2005 and now 70 percent of Iraqis lack access to clean water and 80 percent lack sanitation, conditions leading to cholera epidemics. And now hundreds of thousands of people displaced from Syria have sought safety in Iraq.
Rohingya Crisis (Myanmar)
While the Rohingya people in Myanmar have been subjected to race and religious hatred for decades, from 2012 they have suffered an unrelenting campaign of state-led terror. They have had their land confiscated, their citizenship removed – their civil rights rendered meaningless – and their livelihoods destroyed. In 2012 alone, tens of thousands were forced into isolated camps where conditions mean that chronic malnutrition is rife and there is minimal medical care. In 2015, after increasing ‘ghettoisation, sporadic massacres, and restrictions on movement’ led experts to conclude “that the Myanmar government are in the final stages of an organised process of genocide against the Rohingya” and mass migration of thousands of Rohingya people – 25,000 of whom fled in vessels that were barely seaworthy between January and March of 2015 – saw these refugees dubbed “boat people” by international media. The Rohingya people are stateless. They have no home anywhere to return to. Their treatment has meant that they are often described as the most persecuted people in the world and very recently, in late August 2017, the violence increased when UN reported that the Myanmar army began a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” following insurgent attacks. In two weeks, 120,000 more Rohingya people fled Myanmar and 400,000 more stateless people remained trapped in conflict zones in the west of the country. Two weeks later, a total of more than 420,000 had escaped to Bangladesh and with UN aid agencies blocked from delivering food, water and medicine and reports that stocks of emergency supplies are being looted, the situation worsened. One month later (in October 2017) almost 600,000 Rohingya refugees had left northern Rakhine state since the August escalation and nearly 340,000 Rohingya children and their families living in squalid conditions in Bangladesh camps where food, clean water and health care are lacking are now at “very, very severe risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases, diarrhoea and quite conceivably cholera in the longer-term” with one in five children under the age of five is estimated to be acutely malnourished, requiring medical attention.
These dire situations are not the only ones. There are many more originating in places such as …
Central African Republic
A online search will quickly reveal the horrific circumstances of people from all these territories and the links within the summaries above also can provide more detail on the lives of those persecuted throughout the world.