Biggest Causes Of A Refugee Crisis

Mohamed Malim

refugee girl drinking water

Refugees are people who have been forcibly displaced from their home country and are seeking a better life elsewhere. As per stats, they currently number more than 25 million people

Refugees often have no other option but to leave their home country due to many reasons outside of their control. It’s estimated that more than 37,000 people are forced to leave their home due to conflict and persecution per day.

To understand how to help refugees, one needs to understand why people become refugees in the first place. The causes differ from country to country, however, there are a few primary suspects for the ongoing refugee crisis. 

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Listed below are the biggest causes of a refugee crisis and how they affect millions of people worldwide.

1. Persecution

There are various types of persecution which lead to a refugee crisis. These include racial. social, religious, and political persecution. This is perhaps the most common reason why people become refugees. 

Religious refugees are present almost everywhere, from the Dalai Lama to Muslims being persecuted in Myanmar. Some of the numbers are staggering - for example, More than 900,000 people have fled Myanmar since 2017. 

2. War

Most refugees are people who have been displaced due to either a direct or indirect result of a war.  The first major international refugee crisis happened in the 20th century when more than 50 million people were displaced because of the Second World War. As of now, the Syrian refugee crisis has been going on since 2011. 

It has caused over 6.3 million people to displace internally and caused over 5 million people to leave the country.

According to official records, 2 million Syrian refugees have been registered by UNHCR in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, 3.5 million Syrians registered by the Government of Turkey, as well as more than 33,000 Syrian refugees registered in North Africa. The number is followed by 2.7m people from Afghanistan and 2.3m people from Sudan.

3. Climate Change

school girl walks over collapsed buildings

UNHCR recognizes climate change as a major factor for the refugee crisis. UN General Assembly in December 2018, directly addresses this growing concern. It recognizes that ‘climate, environmental degradation and natural disasters increasingly interact with the drivers of refugee movements.’

It is estimated that around 16.1 million people have been displaced due to climate-related reasons. Climate change has changed modern humanitarian needs, and agencies like the UN are struggling to match the ever-changing requirements. In fact, it cannot even yet be cited as an official reason to seek asylum.

In Somalia alone, more than 49,00 people have been forced to leave their homes in search of food and water since January 2019. Today, the world is staring at a bigger humanitarian crisis due to the drought in Somalia that is estimated to be close to 2.2 million people.

4. Violation Of Human Rights

Many countries face a severe violation of human rights at the hands of the rich and powerful. Often carried out by people who hold a position of authority and are fueled by greed, corruption and power. Full-fledged corruption leads to severe unemployment and economic disparity. Poor citizens of such countries are often violated by the rich and powerful.

Regular violation of human rights and conditions which force people to flee their place of birth leads to either internal or international displacement. Either way, this puts a lot of economic and social burden on the refugees and the countries/cities supporting them. Recognition of such human rights violation is a much-needed step to solve the refugee crisis.

5. Financial Hardships

Poverty is a major cause of the global refugee crisis. An example of this is the Venezuelan Refugee Crisis. More than 4 million people have left Venezuela since 2015. What was once Latin America’s fastest rising economy now has more than 32 million people being unable to afford food. 

This has led to them fleeing to other countries as refugees, seeing an increase of 8000 per cent of refugees since 2014. Financial instability, lack of access to food and healthcare and uncontrolled inflation are often the major reasons for a financially driven refugee crisis.

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6. Hunger

The U.N. has declared the global hunger emergency the biggest humanitarian crisis since 1945. It is estimated that more than 20 million people all over the world face food insecurity. This results in mass displacement and the refugee crisis. 

East Africa alone has 4 million refugees because of food scarcity and lack of resources along with an additional 11 million internally displaced people. This is often due to drought, corruption and political instability that forces hunger displacement. 

7. Gender and Sexual Orientation

pride parade with s bright light

Gender and sexual-orientation based violence is an increasing reason for the ongoing refugee crisis. The UNHCR recognised this and made it a valid reason to seek asylum in 2012. As many as 77 countries in the world criminalise same-sex relations and seven countries punish it with the death penalty.  

People in these countries are often targets of violence, death threats, discrimination and live under a constant state of fear. This results in displacement to countries that offer asylum and accept LGBT+ individuals with open arms.

8. Conclusion

A refugee crisis can be caused by many reasons. The intensity and scale of these causes is what forces people to leave their homes and birth countries to seek shelter elsewhere. These factors like persecution, war, hunger, financial hardships, etc force the mass displacement of people in hopes of survival.

The limited ability of international organizations to control and later reestablish refugees leads to major social, political and economic burden on a global scale. Efforts are being taken to solve these issues to better the lives of people all over the world.

Learn how you can help better the lives of refugees with Epimonia today!

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