The Argosy: "Launched Never to Anchor"

Refugee Crises Continue Around the World

Queen+Chandia%2C+a+South+Sudanese+refugee+who+cares+for+22+children%2C+harvesting+land+in+Uganda+that+has+been+lent+to+her+by+local+residents.
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Refugee Crises Continue Around the World

Queen Chandia, a South Sudanese refugee who cares for 22 children, harvesting land in Uganda that has been lent to her by local residents.

Queen Chandia, a South Sudanese refugee who cares for 22 children, harvesting land in Uganda that has been lent to her by local residents.

Nichole Sobecki for The New York Times

Queen Chandia, a South Sudanese refugee who cares for 22 children, harvesting land in Uganda that has been lent to her by local residents.

Nichole Sobecki for The New York Times

Nichole Sobecki for The New York Times

Queen Chandia, a South Sudanese refugee who cares for 22 children, harvesting land in Uganda that has been lent to her by local residents.

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Throughout various parts of the world, 68.5 million people are faced with persecution in their homelands caused by war, political repression, religion, ethnicity, and many other factors. Out of the 68.5 million that are displaced:  25.4 million of them are refugees, 40 million of them are internally displaced, and 3.1 million seek asylum. One in every 110 people around the world is classified as one of the above.

Each refugee has their own story about how they ended up in the situation they are in. In Central America, the rising crime rate and organization of criminal groups have driven many of their people out of their homes. The increase in homicide rates caused people to flee for their lives. From the fighting and war in Iraq, 3 million people have been displaced since 2014. Syria has the largest forcibly displaced population, made up of 12 million people, a majority of them trapped in exile. Many of these people take to unstable boats and dinghies to flee to Europe. Though, the fastest growing refugee crisis has taken place in South Sudan since 2013. More than 1 million South Sudanese refugees found themselves fleeing to Uganda and other neighboring countries for safety.

Uganda has been widely recognized by the United Nations for its “open border” policy, allowing people to move in and out of the country freely or with limited restrictions. Uganda is known for having a culture of hospitality. Due to its location in Africa, it is easily accessible to people from Sudan.

…refugees are allotted some land – enough to build a little house, do a little farming and be self-sufficient.”

— Soloman Osakan

“[Once they arrive] refugees are allotted some land – enough to build a little house, do a little farming and be self-sufficient,” said Soloman Osakan, a Ugandan civil servant.

Soloman Osakan is in charge of one of the largest refugee concentrations globally. Most of the land used for the refugees has been happily given up by villagers. Without the help of the local Ugandans, many people would not get the freedom of the life they searched for after fleeing their homelands. Many older Ugandans admitted to once being refugees themselves and understanding the feeling of hopelessness that comes with leaving home. Additionally, the younger Ugandans shared the knowledge they gained from their interactions with the refugees, learning different languages, customs, foods, and cultures.

Only 2.9 million of the 6.4 million refugees of primary-school age were regularly going to school.”

The UN Refugee Agency reported that Uganda’s “right to primary education, the right to own and dispose of property, the right to practice a profession and to seek employment opportunities” is more than enough reason for people to escape persecution and start a new. The right to education is highly sought and comforting for families with children who have all become refugees. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children. Only 2.9 million of the 6.4 million refugees of primary-school age were regularly going to school. In comparison, for every ten boys in primary school, seven attend, and for every ten boys in secondary school, six attend. These numbers are significantly low and are detrimental for the children.

Uganda was recognized for the number of refugees they took in. According to the Secretary-General of the Norwegian refugee council, “contrary to common belief, most refugees are not fleeing to Europe. The reality is that more refugees sought safety in Uganda per day at the end of 2016 than many wealthy European Countries received the entire year.” According to the UN Refugee Agency, “Uganda received 489,000 refugees from South Sudan only in comparison to 362,000 people who crossed the Mediterranean into Europe last year.” When no one else would open their doors to refugees, Uganda did. A a result, many advocates are working to make similar changes in America.

Uganda received 489,000 refugees from South Sudan only in comparison to 362,000 people who crossed the Mediterranean into Europe last year.”

— UN Refugee Agency

With the election of Donald Trump came a change in the United States’ system for accepting and resettling refugees. The number of refugees admitted to the U.S. first rose from 85,000 to 110,000 under the Obama administration between 2014-2016. When Trump took office this number was capped at 45,000. This decline in numbers has caused many non-profit organizations working to resettle refugees to cut staff and, for some, to close. These organizations are vital to ensuring refugees that come to America get every opportunity they can to create new lives for themselves. They find housing, help with job searches, and teach the necessities of everyday life. It is expected that this number will continue to decline, posing a problem for more and more refugees in search of a better life.

After Trump banned refugees traveling from some Muslim-majority countries and called a 120-day suspension on the refugee program, an uproar of protests occurred, resulting in a case being brought to the Supreme Court. Despite many efforts, the travel ban was upheld. While Trump is threatening to send troops, and European leaders are paying to block the crossing of the Mediterranean, Uganda is welcoming refugees with open arms. Although it is nearly impossible to find a home for every refugee, whether they are escaping religious persecution or violence or are just in search of a better life, it is important to support them in any way we can.

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Refugee Crises Continue Around the World