No - This isn't a commentary on a Tom Petty song. We're talking real refugees here. At the end of 2008 there were some 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Of that number, 15.2 million were refugees, 827,000 were seeking asylum, and 26 million were internally displaced. Women and girls represent 47 percent of refugees and asylum seekers, and 44 percent are children under the age of 18 (Source: UNHCR 2008 Global Trends). These are sobering statistics.
We see and hear stories about refugees regularly in the news, but does it really help us understand what it must be like to be a refugee, to live such a tenuous existence, leaving one's home behind and trying to survive? Doctors Without Borders has put together a virtual refugee camp that you can tour and learn what it is like to live like a refugee. It clearly and graphically describes the issues (and questions) faced by refugees - where can they live, how will they obtain food, water and medical care, how will they cope, will they ever get back home?
What would you do if you and your family were forced to flee your home (due to violence or war)with barely more than the clothes on your back. Find out by CLICKING HERE to tour the virtual refugee camp at Doctors Without Borders . It's worth the trip. Imagine you are desperate to survive... Consider what it must be like to live as a refugee. Then consider what creates the conditions that forces people to flee their homes in the first place - usually violent conflict and war.
Currently the leading countries of origin for refugees are Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Colombia and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Just Afghanistan and Iraq make up 45% of all refugees under UNHCR's responsibility worldwide!
If we can help prevent violent conflict and war around the world, we can prevent people from being forced to flee their homes and becoming refugees. In the short term we can help support efforts to assist refugees by supporting organizations like Doctors Without Borders. In the long term we can support efforts for the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict. Learn more about this (and how you can help) at the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
No one should have to live like a refugee, and we can help prevent the conditions that force people into such inhumane conditions.
Note: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is the U.N. agency that works to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Doctors Without Borders is an international humanitarian organization working in 60 countries helping people "threatened by violence, neglect and catastophe."
Photo source: http://www.wcl.american.edu/humright/center/newsletter/images/refugees.jpg