The Refugee Crisis
Imagine fleeing your home at a moment’s notice, leaving behind everything you know and trust, with only the clothes on your back. That’s the reality for nearly 90 million people around the world who are refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs). They face some of the biggest challenges imaginable on their journey to safety.
Displaced people are fleeing their homes for many reasons. These include war and conflict, poverty, lack of food and basic services, persecution for issues such as gender or sexual orientation, and environmental disasters like droughts, floods and wildfires. As global climate change worsens, more people are expected to seek refuge.
More than 82 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, the highest number since the Second World War. Most people are displaced within their countries of origin, but some travel to neighboring states or beyond. The majority of those displaced are refugees or asylum seekers, and the rest are internally displaced persons (IDPs) or migrants.
Despite these huge numbers, the world is responding very poorly to this humanitarian crisis. In 2018, only half a percent of the world’s refugees were resettled, and richer countries are not doing enough to share this burden with their neighbors. The global community is not even doing enough to provide adequate protection for refugees, or meet their basic needs.
Refugees are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. They are at risk of physical, mental and emotional harm if they can’t access the right help, information, and support. This is especially true for women, who are twice as likely to be subjected to violence and gender-based discrimination.
We work with partners to protect and support refugees, migrant workers and other vulnerable populations in the region, including those living in urban settings, as well as in remote areas. We also aim to enhance the capacity of governments and communities to respond to refugee movements in a proactive, preventive and holistic manner.
Boat people are a general term for migrants who travel by sea to seek asylum in other nations, often in the Western Hemisphere. The term originated in the 1970s with the mass exodus of Vietnamese refugees following the Vietnam War. Later, large groups of Haitians and Salvadorans sailed to Southern Mexico and the United States. These migrants are often referred to as illegal immigrants or economic migrants, but they are also sometimes called asylum seekers. They may be forcibly prevented from landing at their destination, as in the case of Australia’s Pacific Solution, or they may be detained after arriving if not legally admissible to their country of resettlement. In some cases, they are confined in offshore processing facilities. In others, they are denied entry altogether.