The crises on World Refugee Day

images (1)A REFUGEE can be described as a person who has been forced to leave his or her country due to persecution, which could be attributed to his/her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social affiliation, or as a result of disaster, either natural or man-made such as massacre, genocide, war, inferno, earthquake, terrorism, climate change and famine, just to mention but a few.

In some cases, the internally displaced individuals within a certain country can also be referred to as ‘Refugees’. On Saturday June 20, the global community commemorated the World Refugee Day.

On 4th of December 2000, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in its unanimous Resolution decided that, from 2001, June 20 of every year would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.

In the resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the golden jubilee or the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of Refugees.

Each year on June 20, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and countless civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events in order to draw public attention to the millions of refugees and people who are internally displaced worldwide.

Recently, the Borno State government sought financial assistance of the international community in regard to the alarming number of displaced persons recorded in the state owing to the ongoing insurgency of the Boko Haram sect in the area.

Statistics show that not less than 44 million people worldwide are presently displaced as a result of conflict and persecution, which is the highest number since the middle of 1990s.

More than 15 million of the aforementioned figure are refugees who fled their home countries, while the rest are people who remain displaced by conflict within their own homelands and they are generally regarded as ‘Internally Displaced Persons’.

Worldwide, refugees have really suffered untold hardship in the respective camps or localities they are being hosted or they found themselves; they mostly lack the three basic needs of mankind namely food, clothing and shelter.

Many are killed by deadly diseases, or sometimes due to the unbearable hazards attached to the environment they reside in. Most of the beggars found on the major roads or streets of most cities in Nigeria, likewise other countries, are refugees.

Displaced persons are found virtually in all the nations across the globe. Since refugees are mainly victims of either man-made or natural disasters, there is a compelling need to take appropriate and drastic measures that would thoroughly address all forms of disasters or conflicts witnessed by mankind.

Inferno for instance, which usually takes place as a result of man’s carelessness or lackadaisical attitude, can be prevented by sensitizing the public on the fundamental actions that could lead to such disaster.

In the same vein, people ought to be professionally directed on where, when, and how to erect various structures both residential and industrial.

There is also need for legal backing in respect to prevent discrimination, extremism, racism, ethnicity, human rights violation, et cetera, that can result to a life-threatening crisis such as insurgency, terrorism or war.

Hence, the bill concerning prevention of terrorism acts that is presently lying on the floor of the National Assembly ought to be given a speedy hearing by the current law makers with a view to passing it into law in earnest.

Religious bodies should embark on rigorous awareness crusade on the dangers of any form of crisis. • Nwaozor is a Public Affairs Analyst and Civil Rights Activist.

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