Peacekeeping: The Refugee Explosion

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May 29, 2015: In 2014 another 11 million people were driven from their homes thus boosting the worldwide total of refugees to some 50 million. That’s 29 percent more than in 2013 and it is expected to rise again in 2015. The civil war in Syria and Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Syria account for most of the recent increases. There are also invasions and civil war in Ukraine and South Sudan. There are nearly as many Afghan refugees, some of them displaced since the Russians chased them out in the 1980s. For a long time Pakistan carried the heaviest refugee burden in the world, but since the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011 the worst hit countries (in terms of the refugee load per million locals) has been Lebanon and Jordan. There are growing problems caring for all these refugees, especially in obtaining the money needed to pay for it. Nearly $30 billion was spent on humanitarian aid worldwide in 2014 compared to $22 billion in 2013 and more money will be needed in 2015. This is for refugees and people in dire need. Not just from wars but also because of famine or the victims are refugees in an unstable region and without resources. About 75 percent of this aid is contributed by governments while the rest comes from foundations, corporations and individuals.

The aid goes to over 80 million people, and more than half of them are refugees from conflicts. The aid organizations (mainly the UN) actually sought about 50 percent more money than they received. Despite that shortfall donations were up over 20 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 and even more in 2014. Despite these increases, fund raisers are finding it ever more difficult to obtain donations. That is apparently because the donors are discouraged by the growing corruption and mismanagement in the international relief efforts. Another problem is that so many Islamic terrorists who show up in the West spent years as refugees being fed and cared for by Western donations. This has been very noticeable among the Syria refugees, who make up about a quarter of the worldwide refugee population.

It’s not just the growing number of refugees but the difficulty in getting refugees to stop being refugees. Decades of monitoring refugees shows that, on average, people spend 17 years as refugees once they are first driven from their homes. The 2011 Arab Spring rebellions plus several ongoing nations with serious internal problems led to a record 33.3 million people being forced from their homes in 2013. Over 60 percent of these refugees were in just five countries; Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, Congo and Sudan.  That’s 16 percent more refugees than in 2012. The increase is largely driven by the Syrian government strategy of deliberately targeting pro-rebel civilians. The Islamic terrorist campaign against non-Moslems and pro-government Moslems in northern Nigeria is doing the same thing.

The UN is under pressure to do something about the post-World War II tendency to allow displaced people to remain refugees for decades, instead of persuading host countries to just absorb them. Absorption (by the country refugees ended up in) is how refugees were handled for thousands of years, and how Europe and China handled over ten million refugees after World War II. Then again, until quite recently it was also quite common for large numbers of unwanted refugees to simply be killed or left to starve.

The more recent practice of maintaining refugees for decades has led to more terrorism and violence in general. The treatment of the Palestinian refugees is the most vivid example of this policy. The equal number of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries in the late 1950s was absorbed into Israel and Western nations and were never a problem. The Arab nations refused to absorb the Palestinians and insisted they remain refugees, which millions do until the present. This has caused or contributed to several civil wars and terror campaigns and the deaths of thousands of people.

The UN has had a difficult time getting countries, especially those outside the West, to absorb refugees. It’s mainly an economic, cultural and political thing that is at least made tolerable by all those UN refugee camps (paid for by Western nations).

 

 

 


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