The past decade has shown us an unprecedented level of violence which lead to the worst episode of mass displacement since World War II. Chronic chaos in such states as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia has driven much of the displacement.
Crises have also erupted in South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Eritrea. All told, some 65.3 million individuals or 1 in every 113 people on Earth have found themselves forced from their homes either because of war, civil unrest or natural disasters.
More than 21 million of these displaced souls have journeyed across a national border in search of safety; this distinction makes them refugees.
We has grown healthier and wealthier in recent decades but nearly 1% of the world’s population on the run from violence or disaster, the globe is a more unsettled place than ever and the international community is not prepared to deal with that fact.
In 2015, when large numbers of refugees began arriving in Europe after death-defying journeys across the Mediterranean, the international community panicked. With the notable exception of Germany, which opened its borders to asylum seekers, most European governments accepted limited numbers of refugees or, simply, rejected them outright.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identifies protecting refugees and providing ways for them to rebuild their lives as its two main missions. With the latest wave of refugees, the UNHCR has accomplished neither goal. Just as the international monetary system was forced to reform its untenable system in 1971, today, the world must revise its response to refugee crises.
“Even according to its own metrics, the refugee system is failing badly.”