Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The world's refugees: " I feel humiliated"

United Nations figures show an exodus from Iraq has reversed a five-year decline in overall refugee numbers.

Christian Aid predicts that by 2050 there will be 1 billion people around the world displaced by global warming, dwarfing the number of those now fleeing conflicts and persecution -- nearly 10 million refugees and almost 25 million internally displaced people.

Here are some quotes from those trying to deal with the problem and from refugees.

* "This is the first time I register as a refugee. I feel humiliated, it's like begging somehow," Iraqi Rafi al-Ani, 56, who has lived in Syria since 2001.

* "(Refugees) used to be welcomed as people fleeing persecution, but this has been changing, certainly since 9/11, but even before then," William Spindler, UNHCR spokesman in Geneva. "Growing xenophobia, intolerance, political manipulation by populist politicians who mix up the issues -- the whole debate on asylum and migration has been confused."

* "The reaction now is scepticism. It's: 'Who is this scam artist trying to get a job in our country?'" Joel Charny, vice-president of Washington-based Refugees International. "How will we approach displacement when, say, the Maldives go under? We have to plan for it, but in a way that doesn't lead us all to start jumping out of windows."

* "Since my 18th birthday I've been displaced about 14-16 times," Saundrarajan Kannakai at Manganthoduwa Nawatkuda, Sri Lanka. "After the tsunami we thought things would be stable, and then the war came again. Here we go again, back to square one."

* "It's pretty overwhelming to see what we might be facing in the next 50 years. And it's starting now," Michele Klein Solomon, International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

* "I have all these memories that keep coming back," Marie-Jeanne Iyengue, 45, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. "You sleep and it's always the same film. My wish is to get away from here, to give an education to my daughter. Somewhere else would be better. Maybe somewhere else I could forget."

Source: Reuters

1 comment:

Report Fraud said...

My sympathy to all refugees!