The World’s Refugee Situation 2014 Part II

The World's Refugee Situation 2014 2

The so-called Kampala Convention has been signed by 39 African countries and entered into force in 2012. The agreement is the first legally binding regional agreement in the world that obliges states to protect and assist internally displaced persons. About a third of all people fleeing their own country as a result of conflict or violence live in Africa. Africa is home to 10 million people who have been forced to flee conflict and violence, but who have not crossed any internationally recognized border. Thus, they are not
protected by the Refugee Convention. The Kampala Convention aims to secure these internally displaced people and the communities that receive them.

4: Natural disasters and flight

Legally, a refugee is defined as a person who has crossed a border due to a fear of persecution. This definition does not include people who flee within their own country. Nor does it include people forced to flee for reasons other than war and political persecution . However, the reasons why people are forced to flee are becoming increasingly complex . Often they are a combination of several factors.

Between 2008 and 2012, more than 144 million people from 125 countries were displaced by natural disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. 98 percent of these natural disasters are related to extreme weather . The figures do not include the “slow” natural disasters such as drought, soil erosion, rising sea levels, lack of fresh water and arable land, which destroy livelihoods over time and expel millions of people without this being visible in the statistics.

The major natural disasters, which displace people, occur mainly in developing countries , but they also affect rich countries. Yet it is the poor countries that bear the greatest burdens. The main reason for this is that the richer countries are investing more in preventive measures. The human and societal consequences of natural phenomena can in many cases be dramatically reduced with better systems for warning and evacuation, upgrading of buildings and infrastructure in vulnerable areas, as well as coordination and handling when extreme events occur.

Research shows that climate change will increasingly lead to flight and displacement. The UN Climate Panel predicts that climate change will lead to more people being forced to flee in the coming century. In other words, it seems that climate change and migration are linked, and that climate change may be a cause of flight. The effects of climate change, such as changes in rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, combined with rapid population growth, suggest that more and more people may be displaced from their homes in the future. According to Gradphysics, UN stands for United Nations.

5: Neighboring countries receive the most refugees

Most people who flee do not travel very far. This is related to the transport they use; most flee on foot or by car or bus. Many refugees also envisage returning to their homes as soon as the security situation allows. It is therefore usually the neighboring countries that receive the largest number of refugees, and thus bear the greatest burden of housing and catering for refugees. 80 percent of all refugees live in developing countries.

The civil war in Syria is the prime example of this pattern. Neighboring countries Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq have received over 2.6 million refugees; only a relatively small number live in developed countries. The large influx of refugees is putting an extreme strain, both politically and economically, on neighboring countries. Lebanon, a country the size of Rogaland county and with fewer inhabitants than Norway, has opened its borders to one million Syrian refugees.

Lebanon is already a host country for Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. Another host country, Jordan, has received nearly 600,000 Syrian refugees. Most Syrian refugees in Jordan live privately and rent housing, or they can stay with family or friends. But many also live in camps. The Zaatari camp , set up in July 2012, houses around 100,000 refugees.

Kenya is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to receiving refugees. More than 600,000 refugees have sought refuge in the country due to conflicts in neighboring countries such as Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Many of them live in refugee camps, and in Kenya you will find the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab , which houses over 400,000 people.

6: The international aid apparatus

Fortunately, the countries that receive refugees are not alone in taking responsibility for people who fled conflict and insecurity in neighboring countries. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a mandate to lead and coordinate international efforts to protect refugees and solve refugee problems internationally. Its main objective is to ensure that the rights of refugees are fulfilled and that they receive basic assistance. UNHCR also works to ensure the right to seek asylum and protection in other states. UNHCR’s work is supported by UN member states, including Norway.

In addition, there are a number of non-governmental aid organizations that offer help and protection to refugees and internally displaced persons, both in refugee camps and in cities where refugees settle. The states that receive refugees usually also make a great effort to receive refugees and offer them shelter and basic services.

The World's Refugee Situation 2014 2