Home Nonmilitary action Citizens have the power to address the global refugee crisis

Citizens have the power to address the global refugee crisis


Seeing the ever-increasing number of humans being uprooted and becoming so-called “refugees” due to armed conflict or other factors makes me wonder if we really understand what this phenomenon means and why it is happening. Indeed, the debate about how refugees are cared for in host countries comes after the seemingly terrible thing that forced the person, family or group (all equally deserving of rights and freedoms) to seek and to beg for refuge – why?

Perhaps we still don’t fully understand the globalized nature of the whole world, whereby even the most basic perceptions and actions in one country, for example, can have profound impacts on another or on the rest of the world.

The global refugee crises from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Horn of Africa, for example, are worsening in part because in countries that are financially and militarily more powerful, common public perceptions about their role and responsibilities in these crises are not taken seriously enough.

Some six million Afghanss live as refugees around the world. Why was there this bloody military intervention in Afghanistan for 20 long years if it resulted in the same authoritarianism and the same displacement? The same question could apply to the crises in Ukraine, Iraq and many others.

Power circles in these so-called first world countries are spreading fears of the refugee crisis very well in domestic politics to secure their authority, but the level of their interference in other countries that cause this dilemma in the first place is never highlighted. And, ultimately, small donations and charitable support to vulnerable refugees are presented in every possible way to boost their charitable image.

Citizens of countries with considerable prestige and influence in the world must wake up, use their voting power choose the right politicians and promote policies of equality, non-military interference and pro-environmental action. They simply cannot remain immune to tragedies in distant lands caused in part or entirely by their own governments.

This vicious cycle, which lacks empathy, not only compounds the refugee dilemma, but further alienates humans in host communities from the stark possibility that they too may one day become refugees.

picture by Levi Meir Clancy