Essay on the World Refugee Crisis
Number of words: 2043
Long before the civil war began in Syria, a large percentage of the populace was complaining about high rates of unemployment and national corruption. On March 2011, a group of teenage students in the Southern City of Derrah painted revolutionary messages on their school’s walls. The government retaliated by arresting and torturing the protestors, what ensued were calls for democracy and peaceful protests against the Assad led regime (Carpenter,p 1-11). The demonstrations were inspired by the Arab spring. After a few months of confrontation between the government and the opposition forces, the protests metamorphosed into a civil war spreading to the capital city, Damascus and later on Aleppo. Over time, the civil war has taken different dynamics. There has been involvement of militant groups such as the Islamic State group. Currently, the war has taken a sectarian route where it is seen as a sectarian conflict between the Sunnis and the Shias led by President Assad. The war has made over 11 million people flee their homes in Syria. This can be attributed to a collapsed infrastructure system, lack of social amenities and increased violence. Currently, about 500000 people have been killed since the war started. At least eighty percent of the Syrian population lives below the poverty line. Ninety-five percent cannot even access healthcare. Consequently, this has led them to migrate to the neighboring countries and other countries in the world. The host countries of these Syrian refugees have had their share of problems to contend with due to the influx of the Syrian refugees. Currently, there exists a refugee crisis primarily due to the Syrian refugees (Berti,p 41-53).
Turkey borders Syria to the north. Contrary to the state of things in Syria, Turkey has over time experienced a relative period of stability. The standards of living are equally high. The turkey government has over time tried to assist the Syrian refugees with essential social amenities like food, shelter, and healthcare. It has also involved itself in the war albeit indirectly. According to the International rescue committee and the UN agencies as at 2017, about 3 million Syrian refugees were settled in Turkey. However, the Turkey government insists the numbers are more (Doner, Adem & Rabia,p 764 )
Lebanon borders Syria on the southwestern part of Syria. Despite the small size of Lebanon, it has been home to many of the Syrian refugees due to its proximity to Syria. Besides its proximity to the capital city of Damascus and other well-built areas of Syria, make it a better destination for the refugees (Refaat, Marwan, & Kamel,p 763-764). As at the end of 2017, Lebanon had approximately one million refugees from Syria according to the International rescue community and the United Nations agencies.
Jordan borders Syria to the South. Despite its small size, Jordan has also had its relative share of the Syrian refugees. According to the International rescue, committee by the end of 2017 there were approximately 650000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. However, the Jordan government has repeatedly reported the number of the Syrian refugees to be about 1.3 million. Most of the Syrian refugees have settled in Zaatari and Azraq.
Although Iraq has also had a period characterized by widespread conflict, about a quarter million Syrian refugees have settled in Iraq. Most have settled in the Kurdistan region in Iraq.
Approximately 50000 Syrians refugees of Armenian tribes have moved to Armenia. The Armenia government has absorbed the refugees and settled them in camps spread throughout the country.
Despite Israel being a close neighbor of Syria, it has not accepted any refugee from Syria. The Israel government under the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Nyetahuhu vowed not to admit to illegal migrants who are also potential terrorists.
Before the European refugee crisis of 2015, most of the Syrian refugees were seeking asylum in European countries. As at 2017 there were about 1.3 Syrian, refugees scattered throughout Europe ( Ostrand,p 255). However, in recent years there has been a decrease in the number of Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Europe.
In her reelection bid, German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to put up in place measures to accept refugees from all over the world. Thus, it is no surprise that Germany has the highest number of refugees among the European countries. As at the end of 2017 there were, about 300000 Syrian refugees settled in Germany.
Sweden has this policy of granting permanent residence to asylum seekers. As at the end of 2017, Sweden had granted permanent residence to about 38000 Syrian refugees.
Rest of Europe
The rest of the countries in Europe have not had many Syrian refugees perhaps due to their rigid foreign policies.
What forced their migration and how were they able to make their way to Europe?
Since the civil war begun in Syria, it is estimated that close to five million people have moved out of Syria into neighboring countries and other parts of the World. Another 6.2 million people have been displaced internally.
Endless Violence and Civil War
The end of the Syrian civil war is not in sight. Over the years, it has continued growing. Vast populations of the Syrians are hopeless concerning the war. While initially the war begun as a peaceful protest against the dictatorial Assad regime, the demonstrations have now changed completely. There are jihadists militants who some are even being financed by neighboring countries and armies. This makes it difficult for the war ton end. As earlier mentioned, the war has metamorphosed into a sectarian conflict between the Sunnis and Shias. The two groups have had endless conflicts that can be traced back to history. The continued fighting between the government troops and opposition leaders has led to about 550000 people being killed by the government. Of these 55000 are children. Thus, a majority of Syrians have fled their homes for safety; since nobody is willing to be the next person to be either killed by the government or opposition forces.
The civil war has reduced Syria to a shadow of what the country was in the past. From broken down buildings, deserted houses, and the whole of Syria looks desolate. As at 2017, it was estimated that at least 95 % of the Syrians had inadequate access to healthcare ( Zetter & Heloise,p 6). As we know, healthcare is one of the fundamental human needs. Therefore, people have migrated from Syria towards other countries in search of healthcare. Again at least 70 % of Syrians had no access to clean water in 2017. Water is a prerequisite for life. Thus, the Syrians have migrated from their home country in search of water and other basic needs. Again, due to the civil war, this has meant that the children in Syria cannot go to schools and attain an education. Syrians are known worldwide to value education. A vast majority of Syrians have thus had to leave their homes to go and search for education for their children in other parts of the world.
It is apparent that the Syrian Civil war plunged Syria’s economy into crisis. Industries cannot thrive in an area characterized by widespread fighting. Consequently, this meant the loss of employment for a good percentage of the Syrians. As a result, this meant that a considerable number of them were unable to meet their average bills. In 2017, it was estimated that at least 80 % of Syrians live in poverty. Thus, a good number of the Syrians have moved from Syria into other countries in search of employment so that they can be able to meet their costs of living.
Routes followed by Syrian refugees
With their war intensifying in Syria, the refugees had to find a way through which they would reach Europe. Initially, before Libya required Visas for the refugees, the Syrian refugees would move through Libya and the Mediterranean ocean and finally into Italy. Some would look for asylum in Italy while others would proceed with their journey to other wealthy European countries. In 2015, about 69000 Syrian refugees arrived in Europe asking for asylum. The alternative route followed by the refugees was through Turkey and then into Greece. From Greece, they would proceed into the other Balkan countries in search of other wealthier European nations (Park,p 311-325). However, with Greece recently closing its borders, the refugees have been forced to cross through the Arctic Circle then Norway and then proceed with their journeys to affluent European countries.
What are the economic, social, and cultural challenges faced by refugees as well as by European host societies?
Most of the Syrian refugees have migrated into their neighboring countries, which have barely enough capacity to take care of their needs. The influx of the refugees creates pressure on a nation resource is it land, education system among others. Since the Syrian civil war began, over 1.3 million refugees have migrated into Europe. The host countries have to spend a lot of money educating these refugees, providing housing to them and seeking employment opportunities for them. Overall, this creates a strain on the host countries resources. In some cases once granted asylum the host countries have to pay monthly stipend allowances to the refugees. On the other hand, some of the refugees may find it hard in surviving in European host countries due to the developed economies. Most of them are unable to secure employment, and the government’s stipends are barely enough to see them through.
Social and Cultural Challenges
The refugees and the European societies in have different cultures. Their different modes of working are different. The language barrier is prominent. For instance, in the case of Germany, it has been reported that most of the refugees in Germany struggle with the nitty-gritty of the German language. German language is challenging and therefore before one can master it effectively means one’s interactions with others will be hampered significantly. Besides as earlier mentioned the cultural behavior of the two sets of people are different, and it may take some time before a refugee is used to the way things are being conducted in the European host country. On the case of the host societies due to the cultural differences that exist between the European societies and the other refugee’s societies, instances of tensions build up which affect how the two groups interact in the society (Tumen,p 456-460). The locals may take the refugees as a threat to their social welfare and well-being.
With the end of the Syrian war not in sight, it is evident more and more people will be displaced as time goes on.Therefore it is prudent for all countries in the world to step in and try to see how the conflict can be solved. Children have been the highest casualties of the war, a good number of them have been rendered homeless while a considerable percentage cannot even access education. International bodies such as the United Nations should work towards correcting the situation in Syria to ensure that even those Syrians who had fled their homes can come back.
Berti, Benedetta. “The Syrian refugee crisis: Regional and human security implications.” Strategic Assessment 17.4 (2015): 41-53
Carpenter, Ted Galen. “Tangled web: The Syrian civil war and its implications.” Mediterranean Quarterly 24.1 (2013): 1-11
Döner, Pinar, Adem Özkara, and Rabia Kahveci. “Syrian refugees in Turkey: numbers and emotions.” The Lancet 382.9894 (2013): 764.
Refaat, Marwan M., and Kamel Mohanna. “Syrian refugees in Lebanon: facts and solutions.” The Lancet 382.9894 (2013): 763-764
Ostrand, Nicole. “The Syrian refugee crisis: A comparison of responses by Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” J. on Migration & Hum. Sec. 3 (2015): 255
Park, Jeanne. “Europe’s migration crisis.” New York: Council on Foreign Relations (2015): 311-325
Tumen, Semih. “The economic impact of Syrian Refugees on host countries: Quasi-Experimental evidence from Turkey.” American Economic Review 106.5 (2016): 456-60.
Zetter, Roger, and Héloïse Ruaudel. “Development and protection challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis.” Forced Migration Review 47 (2014): 6
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