The picture shows Belarusian staff distributing supplies to refugees in the border area with Poland near Grodno, Belarus, on November 16, 2021.Xinhua News Agency
□ Wang Yitong
June 20 this year marks the 22nd World Refugee Day. The total number of refugees, refugee claimants and “displaced people” who have fled their countries due to conflict or persecution has exceeded 100 million for the first time, according to figures released by the United Nations refugee agency.
Refugee crisis intensifies
The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence and persecution reached the highest level on record, breaking the staggering 100 million mark, fueled by the conflict in Russia and Ukraine and deadly conflict elsewhere.
“100 million is a grim number – both sobering and shocking. It’s a record that should never be set,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Philippe Grandi. “It must serve as a wake-up call to address and prevent destructive conflict, end persecution, and address the root causes of innocent people being forced to flee their homes.”
The number of refugees exceeded 100 million, accounting for more than 1% of the global population, which is equivalent to the population of the 14th most populous country. The latest report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) shows that these include refugees and 53.2 million internally displaced persons.
“At the end of the day, humanitarian aid is essentially a stopgap solution, not a solution to the underlying problem,” Grandi said. “The only answer to changing this trend is peace and stability.”
So, who is destroying “peace and stability”?
A report by Brown University in 2020 titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the Post-9.11 War in America” pointed out that the wars that the United States launched or participated in after the “9.11” incident exacerbated the global refugee crisis , causing at least 37 million people to flee their homes, and the actual number of refugees may be as high as 59 million. In scale, this is second only to the influx of refugees caused by World War II since 1900. At the same time, refugees from the Middle East flocked to European countries first. Experts from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that the United States’ Middle East policy is the root cause of the refugee crisis in Europe, and its aggressive anti-immigration policy has also made the Central American immigration problem more and more serious.
According to the latest statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Syria remains the world’s largest source of refugee population, followed by Venezuela and Afghanistan in third place.
Whether it is the civil war in Syria, the conflict in Afghanistan, or the political turmoil in Venezuela, the external intervention of some Western countries led by the United States is an important factor in the generation of refugees. From launching the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war, to cultivating anti-government forces in many countries in West Asia and North Africa, forcibly intervening in the “Arab Spring”, then directly intervening in the Syrian war, intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs for a long time and continuing to impose economic sanctions on Venezuela, the United States and its Western Allies held high the so-called “humanitarian” banner, but they caused social unrest, economic deterioration, and people’s livelihood in many countries, resulting in a steady flow of refugees for many years.
According to recent figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 350,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict broke out in 2011, and more than 13 million have fled Syria or been internally displaced. 14.6 million people in Syria need humanitarian and other forms of assistance.
Mohammad Omari, an expert on Syrian international politics, recently pointed out that at the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, the United States through armed intervention and support of opposition forces, led to the intensification of the crisis and provided a soil for the breeding of terrorism. Since then, the United States has directly launched military operations to intervene in the situation in Syria, plundering Syria’s oil and food resources for a long time, and putting Syria into a long-term predicament through layers of sanctions. “The United States creates crises around the world, and then promotes the worsening of the crisis, and maintains its hegemony by causing trouble for other countries. The United States bears inescapable responsibility for the chaos in Syria.” Omari said.
“They (the US) are here to steal our resources, create chaos and wreak havoc,” said Syrian political activist Wada Issa.
At present, the Russia-Ukraine conflict caused by the US and NATO’s continuous fire has caused “the most serious refugee crisis in Europe after World War II”. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently pointed out that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to “8 million people taking refuge in Ukraine, and more than 6 million refugees have been registered abroad.” According to foreign media reports, since February, Ukrainian refugees have been pouring into neighboring countries. Among them, more than half of Ukrainian refugees entered Poland, and a large number of refugees arrived in Romania, Hungary and Moldova.
With the influx of refugees, the public resources of European countries are under severe pressure. According to statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, within one month of the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian refugees poured into neighboring Poland; two months after the outbreak of the conflict, the number of Ukrainian refugees accepted by Poland exceeded 3 million. Warsaw Mayor Terzaskovsky said that resources such as temporary shelter, medical care, and education are seriously insufficient, and that “Warsaw is on the verge of collapse.” According to the EU think tank Brueghel Institute, the EU will spend at least 43 billion euros in resettling Ukrainian refugees in 2022, accounting for about a quarter of the EU’s total planned expenditure for the whole year, and this figure will increase as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues Increase.
The U.S.-led NATO continued to expand eastward in disregard of Russia’s security concerns, eventually detonating the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, resulting in the displacement of millions of Ukrainian refugees.
Governance is imminent
At present, under the background of repeated delays of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, increasingly tense geopolitical situation, and difficult global economic recovery, refugee governance is even more urgent. According to the “Global Resettlement Needs 2022” report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, nearly 90% of the world’s refugees are hosted in developing countries. After the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the United States once again offered lip service to the issue of accepting Ukrainian refugees.
Since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, while the United States has fanned the flames of sending weapons to Ukraine, it has vowed to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The U.S. pledge of 100,000 people is a drop in the bucket compared with the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to flee their homes. In fact, the United States seems to have no intention of fulfilling its promise. Throughout March, the United States accepted only 12 applications from Ukrainian refugees.
The problem of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border is equally serious. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, since March this year, U.S. law enforcement agencies have arrested more than 200,000 illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border for two consecutive months. Another data shows that in 2021, U.S. law enforcement agencies will arrest about 1.7 million illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, a record high in 20 years, including 145,000 children. At the same time, news of the U.S. government’s brutal treatment of immigrants and refugees is common, and extreme measures and inhumane actions such as violent law enforcement, extended detention, abuse, and expulsion have seriously violated human rights.
And what about the living conditions of refugees entering the United States?
The US “Wall Street Journal” website published an article on May 9 titled “Afghani refugees are struggling to survive in the United States”, pointing out that last summer, the United States accepted about 76,000 Afghans, but thousands are still waiting for work permits and Social Security cards, without which they can’t work and pay bills. Others have suffered from health care coverage, food stamp denials, lost childhood vaccination records, and other issues that prevent them from accessing basic coverage.
The Afghanistan Adjustment Act, which would give Afghans permanent legal status in the United States, was discussed in Congress last summer but has yet to pass. “We have a two-year humanitarian visa, but we don’t know if we can get a green card,” said Daoud Ehsani, a 21-year-old Afghan college student who was evacuated with his sister, who served in the Afghan special forces. to Maryland.
The article pointed out that after the Taliban seized power in August last year, an Afghan who was evacuated from Kabul airport and his family moved to Virginia in the United States. His wife had just had heart surgery, but because of health insurance issues, she was unable to buy the necessary medicines.
The Afghan, who worked with the U.S.-led coalition for 10 years, has never been able to find a job in the U.S. and fears eviction when his housing allowance expires. He said: “I’m totally fed up with life. I’m lost and I don’t know what to do.”
Analysts pointed out that the root cause of refugees is that some Western countries led by the United States have been exporting wars and turmoil in many countries around the world for a long time, interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and creating humanitarian disasters, resulting in an increasingly serious global refugee problem.
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