Is international patience with the refugees over?

Learn why international policies are disfavouring refugees around the world, becoming a crisis without borders

Is international patience with the refugees over?

In the framework of World Refugee Day, commemorated on June 20, border policies in the world are more relevant than ever. United States, Colombia and the recent changes proposed in Germany and France, force us to ask ourselves about the current situation of refugees in the global migration crisis.

These policies should be analyzed in light of the main objectives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in line with the conditions and policies on the protection of the rights and safety of those who have been forced to leave their countries for reasons of violence, wars, poverty, evictions, and other critical factors that affect this problem.

Leer en español: ¿Se acabó la paciencia internacional con los refugiados?

In the midst of the crises of the current context, the factors that give rise to migrations to other countries are varied and complex; as in the case of Venezuela, in which political, economic, and social aspects converge. This is also the situation of some Central American countries, in which poverty and violence produce transmigrations that, unfortunately, have forced other countries to adopt aggressive policies that undermine the protection of the most vulnerable.

Such is the case of the United States, which under Trump's mandate imposes a dominant position that borders on inhuman actions, in order to contain the presence of refugees and groups on the southern border. The policies and measures implemented generate ruptures of families that are fragmented on both sides of the border, under the international gaze that demands justice and humanitarian acts for these groups of refugees.

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However, it should be emphasized that this is not a recent situation, but rather it has increased in the last year. The above provokes extreme situations that punish the families that have the last option of life to cross the border exposing themselves to the different types of control exercised, for example, the United States. There, so far, there are more than 2,300 children separated from their parents.

For this reason, UNHCR asked the Trump government to rethink the policies and prevent families from being separated and offered their intervention at the border. Faced with this request and international pressure, the president revoked the policy where children whose parents were to be tried, cannot be separated.

The world panorama, consequently, shows thousands of refugees who have no future and a scenario in which containment policies are increasingly severe. As a result, organizations such as the UN have sought to be fully involved, to provide solutions that at least manage to mitigate this problem.

Just as UNHCR, by its missionary stamp, comes to the aid of refugees in different regions, the case of Colombia also stands out. The government of the coffee nation has sought that through the Permit of Special Permanence for the citizens of Venezuela, they can work and access different services within the Colombian territory. Despite these efforts, many of the refugees have been victims of the border crisis and labor exploitation.

In the last four years, UNHCR has detected that there are approximately 176,000 Venezuelans in refugee status in the continent, with Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador as the main host countries, and therefore countries where the capacity to receive refugees is has been affected. For this reason, UNHCR has reinforced accompaniment in these countries, making direct intervention to give priority to the most vulnerable populations with the help of allied countries.

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In contrast to accompaniment in Latin America, UNHCR has had to do a greater follow-up in European countries due to the crisis that has been occurring since 2010. Despite the fact that some countries such as Germany, where it is estimated that between 2015 and 2016 more than 1.2 million people have sought refuge, have given open doors to the reception of refugees, others have remained distant claiming economic crises as a result of these measures.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron proposed, as a result of the migrant crisis, a measure in which refugees were returned to the European country where they were initially registered. However, the German government faces internal pressure where Merkel is required to act without the agreement of all the countries of the European Union, a situation that is difficult given that countries such as Italy, Poland, and Hungary have no interest in reevaluate the migratory load of European countries.

The international panorama leaves little to be desired of international policies given that they undermine the protection of rights and permanent solutions for this vulnerable population. The international community has sought to justify its border closure and exaggerated measures in the care of the economy and the development of nations, putting these interests on human rights and against the protection of refugees being expelled from the territory and at worst of the cases, returned to their place of origin.


Latin American Post | Daniela Montes Niño
Translated from “¿Se acabó la paciencia internacional con los refugiados?”

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