No Person Can Be Illegal
On the eve of the day the world celebrates to mark the World Refugee Day 2018, President Donald Trump of the United States of America was quoted from his briefing at the White House saying “The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”
These words however appalling and controversial as they sound are the true reflection of how countries for a long period of time have perceived the subject of immigration and refugees.
The narrative has always been, “As a country, we continue to do so much for refugees.” In some worst scenarios, any surge in crime rates or social breakdown is attributed to the existence of refugees in the host country.
One vital question that stands is this, have we ever imagined how much more, given a chance, the refugee would impact on the social and economic developments of the host countries?
The world should move beyond seeing the tag descriptive of a person forced to flee his home due to war, poverty, underdevelopment, environmental degradation, and inequality; and instead focus on the talents and abilities individual refugees posses for the economic and social development of the host country. Before displacements, some refugees were doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, lawyers, and even people practising art.
Given a chance, the host country would also greatly reduce the burden of hosting the refuges by tapping into the expertise of these displaced persons unlike constricting these persons in camps awaiting aid.
It is important to note that the sharp increase in the outflow of displaced persons is majorly attributed to political feuds. On this particular issue the international community has failed in its responsibility.
UNHCR report indicates that out of 66 million displacements that have happened all over the world, only 500,000 refugees and other displaced persons have returned home. This has been occasioned by persistent absence of security and peace because very few displacement situations have been brought to a definitive conclusion.
It should be each country’s obligation to sustain the protection of the displaced people and refugees while solutions to conflict situations are pursued both within the host country and even in the affected country.
Therefore to achieve a complete reversal of the outflow of refugees, there needs an urgent collective action by the international community to restore security, resolve conflicts and build peace.
#WorldRefugeeDay #WithRefugees #MyNameIsNotARefugee
Jack Odiwa, Local Expert-AJS
AGCP-Kituo Cha Sheria