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The refugee crisis - unloved, unwanted, unfavourable

1/6/23

By:

Amisha Sharma

The Urgency of Unity: Confronting the Global Refugee Migration Crisis

Only 69% of refugees are hosted in neighbouring conditions - hosted. Not welcomed, not thriving, not even living in…hosted. This seems like a large amount, but what about the other 21%? That’s around 5 million people. 5 million human beings, some of them children, are escaping their home countries, with absolutely nowhere to go. Denied access to a home, to basic human rights!


Take everyone’s favourite, the USA! The biggest economy in the world, the “American dream”, and the perfect place to live. There are more than 200,000 stateless people in America, living in constant fear, unable to legally work, open bank accounts, enroll in school or higher education, or access health care, or family abroad.

Truly a ‘dream’.


The US has not signed or ratified either of the two international treaties that specifically protect the rights of stateless people: The 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.


The US is still obligated to protect the rights of stateless people to nationality under other international laws, and while the US has acknowledged the problems faced by the stateless in America, they have not yet taken any action whatsoever to help them.


Consider this statement from Motaz Alelhou, a Palestinian asylum seeker who applied for refugee status in the USA and was denied and thrown into prison: “Everyone says that America is a country of law and justice. Where is the law and where is the justice in this? Will I spend the rest of my life in prison just because I applied for asylum in 

your country?”


There is no better way to phrase the horrifying hypocrisy in the USA and the callous manner in which they treat refugees than the words of a heartbroken victim himself.


It is also interesting to note that in recent years, the US has admitted far more Christian refugees than Muslim refugees. Christians accounted for 79% of the refugees in the USA, which makes no sense as it's a sharp reversal from the pattern followed many years before. It leads to the question, why is the USA selecting who deserves asylum in their country? Who is the USA to declare that someone’s religion determines whether or not they have the right to a safe home?


However, the USA certainly isn’t alone in this “Abuse and bully refugees because they come from poorer countries!” club they seem to be trying to become president of.


Let’s switch focus to how the UK is deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda - which was somehow deemed lawful by the country’s High Court. This policy means that asylum seekers deemed to have entered the UK illegally would be sent to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed.


The UK’s relative lack of urgency and incompetence in the management of asylum seekers sets a dangerous precedent - people with successful claims for asylum will have to start their new lives in Rwanda.


Rwanda has a murky human rights record, to put it kindly, boasting allegations of rape, frequent attacks on freedom of speech, abuse of the LGBTQ+ community, and the use of excessive force against refugees. Yet, the UK continues to claim that “Rwanda is a safe country and has previously been recognised for providing a safe haven for refugees”.


Typical.


The UK government is drastically downplaying the risks of sending refugees to Rwanda.


Yet again, it seems as though the United Kingdom has made some big promises, and when they weren’t able to follow through, they dumped their problems on a struggling country.


Let’s not forget the trendsetter! Even Australia follows in the footsteps of forcibly transferring refugees to other countries - they started it. Since July 2013, the Australian government has forcibly transferred over 3000 asylum seekers and refugees to offshore camps in Papua New Guinea, and Nauru.


However, Australia doesn’t even try to pretend these are safe countries! In these refugee camps, refugees suffered severe abuse, inhumane treatment, and medical neglect. Children in those offshore camps have been described as among the most traumatised they had ever seen, by medical professionals, and they had stopped speaking and wished to commit suicide.


Twelve people have already died in Australia’s offshore detention system, from murder, medical neglect, and suicide. Refugees - 12-year-olds - have quite literally set themselves on fire to escape this madness.


Successive Australian governments have used detention as deterrence, even though under international law, immigration detention shouldn’t be used as a punishment, but as an exceptional measure of last resort to carry out a legitimate aim. Adults also should be detained for the shortest time necessary, and children, not at all! Yes…it totally sounds like this is being followed.


Furthermore, asylum seekers caught by Australia’s policy have many of their rights, under international law, infringed. They are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, their freedom of movement is severely restricted, and for many, the conditions in which they are held amount to torture or ill-treatment.


Of course…all of this is done for political parties to gain votes and win elections. Solid reasoning!


If we’re talking about refugees, and the massive failures noted by countries in accepting refugees, we can’t miss China! Their policy on refugees is quite literally “Anywhere but here!”. China is all for making claims to keep them on the right side of the UN, but there is absolutely no follow-through on these.


China fails to offer North Korean refugees desperately seeking safety from a crazed dictator. If North Korean escapees are caught by Chinese authorities, they face deportation, and severe punishment for illegally leaving their home country. This means their options are either get tortured in North Korea or get tortured in China!

Now to the real tea - The Uyghur Muslims.


The Uyghur people populate East and Central Asia, one of China’s ethnic minority groups. For the past six decades, tens of thousands of Uyghur Muslims have fled East Turkistan and the Xinjiang region in China for Western democratic countries, in search of “freedom”.

These Uyghur Muslim escapees are escaping the Chinese “re-education camps” in which they are forcibly brainwashed into swearing loyalty to the Communist ideology. This process often separates children from their families, and treatment of the Uyghur people is typically violent, hostile, and inhumane.


When the Uyghur people attempt to flee, their passports are confiscated, and they are imprisoned. Really does sound like an optional vocational camp.


So…the USA, the UK, Australia, China. I see a pattern!

Strong, thriving economies, large countries, who could easily support many more refugees than they currently are - if what they’re doing is considered “supporting” - ignoring these struggling, desperate souls, due to selfish priorities.


Something has to change, for we can no longer be allowed to behave as parasites, sucking the money out of the global system and benefiting ourselves, leaving all others to suffer.

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