The forgotten refugees | Press

The issue of the 20,000 Afghan refugees settling in Canada is testament to a bigger issue: the record number of internally displaced people in the world. According to the United Nations, more than 84.4 million people, including 30 to 40 million children, had to leave their homes by the end of 2020, unprecedented. Here are some of the hot spots on the planet.

Posted on Aug 28, 2021 at 6:00 am

Nicolas Bérubé The press

Ethiopia

Around 24,000 Eritrean refugees live in two refugee camps in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. You are stuck in an armed conflict between Eritrean and Ethiopian forces. Human Rights Watch reports “simple executions, sexual violence, looting, arbitrary arrests and attacks on factories, schools and hospitals” in this hard-to-reach area, where 4 million people, or 70% of the population of Tigray are deprived of food.

PHOTO BERNAT ARMANGUE, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVE

Migrants, mostly minors, huddled near a warehouse in Ceuta last May

Ceuta and Melilla

Spanish enclaves on the Moroccan coast, the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, are targeted by migrants trying to be taken into Europe. In May, around 8,000 people, including 1,500 children, tried to cross the border on foot in the water or by swimming. Many were beaten by the Spanish Army while the Coast Guard rescued people from drowning, including a newborn baby. France-Isabelle Langlois, Executive Director of Amnesty International Canada Francophone, notes that it is wrong to speak of a “crisis” affecting migrants. “It’s a crisis for people experiencing migration who want to settle in western countries, but it’s not a crisis for us,” she said. Most of us, even in Montreal, have very little contact with these people. It disturbs us very little in our daily life. ”

PHOTO GO NAKAMURA, REUTER’S ARCHIVE

Migrants line up after being stopped by US border guards as they cross the Rio Grande, the river that separates the United States from Mexico.

United States – Mexico border

About 70,000 asylum seekers are herded together in dangerous conditions in makeshift camps on the Mexican side of the United States border, where they are subjected to kidnapping and drug cartel violence. Joe Biden had decided to allow them to settle in the US, but the Supreme Court has just ruled that they must stay in Mexico. At the same time, arrivals of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border skyrocketed in the summer of 2019, only to explode again this summer with nearly 200,000 irregular entries in July, unheard of for more than 20 years old. These people are fleeing violence, Ms. Langlois notes. “Venezuela, Mexico and Central America are more violent than many countries in armed conflict. ”

PHOTO RAJIB RAIHAN, ARCHIVELY RELATED PRESS

Rohingyas are waiting in the port of Chattogram, Bangladesh, to board a boat to Bhasan Char, an island where more than 100,000 refugees from their community are already housed in a camp.

Rohingya in Burma

According to the UN, the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world and were victims of a genocide campaign by the Burmese military in 2017. The 1.5 million Rohingyas now live mostly in overcrowded and unsanitary camps in Bangladesh, while others have gone to sea to reach Malaysia or Indonesia. Burma does not recognize them as citizens, the Rohingya are stateless. The military coup in Burma last February does not mean a return to calm in the country for the Rohingyas.

PHOTO MERIDITH KOHUT, NEW YORK TIMES ARCHIVE

Families of Venezuelan migrants who fled in Pacaraima, Brazil

Venezuela

Endemic violence and the lack of food, medicine, gasoline and electricity have led growing numbers of Venezuelans to flee to neighboring countries, particularly in Colombia (1.4 million people), Peru (870,000) and Ecuador (385,000). By the end of 2020, one in six Venezuelans had left the country, which corresponds to 5.6 million people. “Never in our history in Latin America have we faced such a movement of people from a country that was among the richest in the region and is not at war,” said the UN special envoy for refugees, Eduardo Stein, said the guard .

PHOTO ALEXIS HUGUET, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVE

An employee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees receives refugees from Central Africa in a camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries on earth, has been torn apart by armed conflict for years. More than 630,000 Central African refugees have fled to neighboring countries, including Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congo, often on foot and in conditions of extreme poverty. A corresponding number is distributed within the country itself.

PHOTO ZAID AL-OBEIDI, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVE

Young Iraqi refugees in the Al-Jadaa camp south of Mosul

Iraq

The decades of conflict in Iraq have resulted in significant population displacement. At the end of 2019, nearly 2 million Iraqis were displaced within the country, mostly in the Kurdistan region, while outside the country there were almost 287,000 Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers. Despite a decline in violence, the country continues to be hit by sporadic attacks while 18% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, including 3 million children.

1 million

Number of children born to a refugee life worldwide since 2018

3.7 million

Number of Syrian refugees currently in Turkey, the largest refugee population in the world

The vast majority of displaced people live in developing countries. A very small number arrives in western countries, but these have by far the largest absorption capacity.

France-Isabelle Langlois, Executive Director of Amnesty International Canada Francophone

War crimes

The International Criminal Court regards the forced relocation of civilians as a war crime in both an international armed conflict and a national conflict.

Source: United Nations

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