Factors that led to Predicaments of Refugees in the World: The African Example
Many refugees of the world, especially from the African Continent were tricked to Europe and Americas on falsified tales, which have landed them on untold hardship. Because of those stories the people became volunteers without minding the rudiments of the journey ahead. The current trend is voluntary because they planned for the journey by gathering monies ahead of it. Some have made job connections overseas with the “human traffickers” and hoping that a well paid job is waiting for them to start whereas the narrative is mostly a fantasy. Some refugees have sold out all their belongings at home to make the journey and later have a total regret and remorse while getting to Europe and being repatriated back home by the host country. While crossing the Sahara Desert, people used to die. Sometimes foods were exhausted; they drink their urine to quench their thirst to sustain the journey. In otherwise, people die of hunger and exhaustion in the Sahara Desert while journeying to Europe (Awake Magazine, 2002).
Africa has been classified as a “civil wars continent” of the world and that has really affected the developmental strides which had contributed to the poverty-stricken status of the continent (Nwabueze, 2021). Her people are poor and have become a lesser beings in terms of comparing their economic status to other people from other continents.
Most of the global refugees are borne out of civil wars and related conflicts, making some of the people to forcefully disengage from their original places of birth where they did earn their daily living (Gil,1993). So, they look elsewhere for survival and turned to a “refugee” by shifting economic burden to their host communities. Getting official recognition as a refugee has become more difficult for various reasons. Countries of the world had sluggishly accepted refugees into their countries because of the economic costs attached to the population influx which brings economic and political instability.
On February 17, 2001, a rusty freighter ran aground on the French coast. Its cargo consisted of about a thousand men, women and children, who had been at sea for a week without food (Awake Magazine, 2002). The Ship captain was amiss after taking the passengers safe to the shore but the sweet side of the story was that French government decided to grant their asylum requests. Some refugees as earlier mentioned above had sold their belongings at home just to make a trip to Europe for a better living condition because their original economy is prone to violence, poverty, discrimination, or repressive regimes-making life seem hopeless and worthless thus contributing to the poorest of the poor. During the last decade, about 3,500 migrants drowned or disappeared at sea while crossing the Strait of Gilbraltar from Africa to Spain. In the year 2000, fifty-eight Chinese illegal migrants or refugees got suffocated in a truck while entering England from Belgium. While others have crossed the Saharan Desert to North African countries, especially Libya with little food nor water and some of the unlucky ones usually meet their deaths on the Mediterranean Sea as a result of boat mishap while crossing to the European countries for greener pastures.
Yet, the migrants’ number around the globe is still blowing high- a figure worth 300,000 migrants got into the United States of America, while about a half a million people were smuggled into Europe. Back in 1993, the United Nations Population Fund estimated the worldwide number of migrants to be 100 million, of which over a third had settled in Europe and the United States. The refugees equally faced hunger and die of it. Hygiene too is a major problem in the refugee camps because of poor sanitation and lack of water. The reasons are simple. Developing countries that suddenly find themselves inundated with many thousands of refugees may already be struggling just to feed their own citizens Awake Magazine, 2002).
They cannot provide much help to the multitudes who suddenly appear on their doorstep. The wealthier nations being host to the refugees too have their own problems making them to be reluctant from helping the refugees in their countries (Gil, 1993). The “Rwandan Genocide of 1994” that lasted for just one hundred days which took away lives of over eight-hundred thousand Tutsis and the Hutus moderates produced an untold number of refugees that flooded the neighbouring African countries like Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi, Uganda, including Europe. As a result, a single country bore the brunt of hosting two million people in 1994. The country quickly swung into action by erecting some refugee camps and due to the large number of refugees’ facilities became overstretched which led to the occurrence of cholera outbreak that killed thousands before it was brought finally under control. The cause of the cholera outbreak was poor sanitation and dearth of the white gold otherwise known as “water.” There is this bad challenge of refugees whereby armed combatants mixed in with the civilian refugees and quickly took over the distribution of relief items. “The presence of armed elements amongst refugee populations has exposed civilians to increased risks. It has made them vulnerable to intimidation, harassment and forced recruitments,” states a United Nations Report. Some refugee camps turned permanent settlements because the refugees have no-where to go. Refugees do have employment restrictions in their host countries-sometimes denying them from gainful employment or underemployment. The refugee camps used to have high mortality rate due to lack of medical facilities and birth attendants. Even pre-teens pregnancy rate too is high as a result of idleness and confinement. Refugees also suffer from frostbite and the unlucky ones die of cold, especially during the winter period because the camps’ does not have radiators and the refugees could not withstand the climatic condition.
Internally-displaced-persons are source of human rights violations and they are being manipulated in conflicts and war-torn countries, where humanitarian organizations were used to sustain wars and feed war economies, says, “The State of the World’s Refugees 2000.” According to Pino Arlacchi, United Nations secretary-general called it the fastest-growing criminal market in the world, because of the profit worth USD12 billion a year the traffickers generates. In fact, trafficking of migrants is an international lucrative business for the human trafficking syndicates. Refugees’ does not have legal protection and their passports used to be confiscated by the traffickers. The ones that could not secure a decent job finds themselves on the streets as prostitutes and if caught by the host authority the last resort is repatriation, and traffickers used to threaten the illegal migrants if the arrangements of the business remittances were not met, the illegal migrants did have sexual molestation and even have their family members being threatened with violence if the money spent on the migrant to Europe is not recovered.
Conclusively, refugees and it problems would continue to rise for as long as human beings exists on earth. On the 30th day of January, 2021, the BBC News says that, the current turmoil in the Central African Republic (CAR) that held the President of CAR indicated that he could not leave the presidential palace in Bangui due to the series of rebel groups fighting each other that he needs a military escort to move out. This has led to over two hundred thousand people internally displaced and the refugees will flood other neighbouring countries that are also living with rebellions over time that is the CAR’s refugees would never find a safer place within and outside the Central African Republic. Recently, a fresh set of refugees emerged from Ethiopia as a result of Tigra’s rebellion that is fighting the Ethiopian government. This has caused economic upheavals and insecurity which has made tens of thousands of people to leave their original places of stay, says the BBC News, 2021. On the 1st of February, 2021, BBC News broadcasted that, Burmese military had overthrown the civilian government led by Aung Sa Suu Ki. A country that had been managing internal political crisis and with this tension people will scamp to safety causing the neighbouring countries to host fresh set of refugees again.
© 2021 Opuene Kingsley Inowei