One Big Thing: Should the United States and world do more to support refugees?
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What is it?
- Saturday, June 20 is World Refugee Day which highlights the bravery and resilience of the millions of women, men and children forced to flee their homes because of violence, oppression and persecution. The UN High Commission for Refugees estimates that over 70 million people are currently displaced from their homes around the world.
- Since 2016, the United States has lowered the number refugees it annually admits from 85,000 in 2016 to just 18,000 in 2020. That being said, the United States contributes more financial resources to helping refugees than the next 10 highest contributors combined.
- The current COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the plight of refugees around the world and their issues related to displacement have been compounded by a dearth of available tests, inadequate conditions for social distancing, and little to no access to clean water.
Why is it important?
- Alarmingly, it is estimated that someone is forced to flee their homes roughly every two seconds. Unfortunately, conflicts in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Burma, Yemen, and Venezuela, amongst others will continue this statistic until these conflicts are ended.
- Refugees are amongst the world’s most vulnerable populations while they are displaced but also often face additional complications when trying to return home. Often, they are met with the same violence or persecution that forced them to originally flee.
- While many countries, organizations and individuals have stepped up to the plate to support displaced people, others have turned a blind eye when people need them most. World Refugee Day is an important moment to consider what actions we can take in our own communities and everyday lives to support refugees.
- Refugees have contributed to the betterment of the United States and the world. Here are few famous refugees: Albert Einstein, Freddie Mercury, Madeleine Albright, George Soros, Gloria Estefan.
What can you do?
- Learn more about bipartisan legislation which is intended to help refugees around the world: Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018
- UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency
- Refugees International
- Visit International Rescue Committee and see how refugees are contributing as frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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