The Refugee Crisis as we are calling it here in the west is in actual fact a war crisis. War creates refugees, it is a certainty that where there are wars people will flee, kind of like taxes – this goes back a very, very long way.
There are currently 42 conflicts happening in the world, with the UK not having a single year of peace in over the last one hundred years. It should come at no surprise then that there is a refugee crisis. However the response and coverage of this “refugee crisis” – has not only been extremely one sided and centred around Europe, it complete flies in the face of the facts.
Media coverage would have us believe that hordes are banging on Britain gates, as they try to get to this green and pleasant land, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Europe is not under siege by refugees, in actual fact a tiny amount of the worlds refugees are even attempting to get into Europe.
The main figures we have to go on are from the end of 2014 (2015 figures won’t be released until later this year), we have of course seen one million refugees and migrants (big distinction between the two) enter Europe over the course of 2015, but even if we deduct this from the world figure, it still doesn’t take much of a dent of the world refugee overall total, so lets look at the figures in greater depth.
At the end of 2014 59.5 million people around the world were displaced, of that figure 19.5 million were refugees, roughly 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced every single day and it has reached the point where 1 in every 122 human beings on the planet is effected by this.
That one million don’t seem like so much any more does it? And when we look at the response by the developing world, it gets even more shameful for Europe, considering that developing countries host 86% of the worlds refugees. G20 countries meanwhile account for 85% of the worlds GDP, so it is clear where their priorities lie (profit, not people).
Whether we like it or not, this is a global problem, and in many cases a problem we have made worse, through western militarism. If we can find the money to bomb these peoples homes, surely we can find the money to provide one for them?
So how is it that the majority of the burden rests on developing countries, when we clearly have the lions share of the worlds resources, therefore the greatest capacity to help.
These figures are not new either, yet we haven’t heard about the refugee crisis engulfing Africa, or Asia – it only became a problem when some of these poor souls wanted to get into fortress Europe.
The response to this global problem has been wholly inadequate, the developed world has been extremely quick to add fuel to the fire by bombing countries, creating more displacement, but it has been very slow to help the victims of these wars. In fact if the developed world had taken the refugee problems seriously years ago, there would be no crisis.
There are solutions to this western created war crisis, first and foremost stop the arms industries flooding the world with western weapons, fuelling war. Our leaders need to have a commitment to peace and diplomacy, while it supports regional actors in with their internal and international development.
The refugees safety needs to be the chief concern, and this global crisis demands a global response, the world have to come together and work out a program and some concrete policies on how they are going to solve this. The problem is bigger than any one national state, even if the majority of the burden is falling on states that are out of sight and out of mind.
We are told that helping them encourages more of them, well they exist whether they exist in Europe, whether they are struggling to survive in the Middle East or Africa, they are human beings, who are in need because of conflict.
We can need to be investing in skills, training, integration, education which not only can help refugees thrive, while giving them the opportunity to begin rebuilding their lives – it can also provide some much needed investment in our own economies, providing jobs and infrastructure.
Refugees are quickly getting demoted to a number, and it all becoming a numbers game, but we are dealing with people, and this refugee crisis demands a human response and until our government stops putting the arms dealers and their spreadsheets first, this war crisis has no end in sight.
Hopefully the world will unite in creating a positive and peaceful solution but I will hold my breath on that one. Maybe if we declared war on refugees the worlds powers would be as enthusiastic about dealing with the aftermath of wars, as they are waging them.