The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
        Tuesday, June 20, 2006
        Keep the flame of hope for refugees

        The world is observing Refugee Day today. I really don't know what such international days of observance achieve. May be I’m confusing Hallmark’s holidays and everything that follows – "Go to Toyota for Valentine’s Day sale", "Don't miss this hot Mother's Day sale at Mattress Giant!" Why the hell would I want to replace my mattress on Mother's Day anyway? – with international days. I don't know.

        Africa is the largest host of refugees and internally displaced people, and this fact makes you wonder what the fuss is all about within the migration laws of some rich countries.

        How countries treat those who have been forced to flee persecution and human rights abuse elsewhere is a litmus test of their commitment to defending human rights and upholding humanitarian values. Yet, fifty years after its inception, the states that first established a formal refugee protection system are abandoning this principle, and the future of the international refugee regime is under serious threat. (Human Rights Watch)

        I am not advocating for countries to be run over by unforced refugees (economic refugees or whatever you want to call them). But at least, have consistent regulations and make sure that the basic principles of refugee protection are respected. Australia was fiddling with their policy to stop refugees who enter the country by boat. Thanks to Brangelina setting a trend to celebrate family occasions while doing good, perhaps Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban could make the refugee situation in Australia their wedding theme (and invite a boat load of refugees as special guests while they are at it.)

        Although the number of refugees is at its lowest in 25 years, still there are millions of refugees world wide. The latest statistics from UNHCR
        shows 20.8 million "people of concern".

        • 8.4 million are refugees who have fled their countries due to civil wars and ethnic, tribal and religious violence and who cannot return home
        • 6.6 million are internally displaced persons - people forced to flee their homes, but who have not crossed a border
        • 2.4 million are stateless people
        • 1.6 million are returnees
        • 773,000 are asylum seekers
        • 960,000 are others of concern

        Links
        Refugees International
        Forced Migration Online
        Amnesty International
        posted by Fikirte @ 12:43 PM   Digg!
        1 Comments:
        • name<="c115099196183347150" id="c115099196183347150">

          At 11:59 AM, Blogger Leighton Cooke said…

          I read your comment while sitting in the Spuistraat, which is where I'm sitting at this very moment in the University. What are the odds on that?

           
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