A new displaced person every 4.1 seconds

19 06 2013

One of the signs of our time is the rise in the number of refugees. This reality can be viewed through the lens of economics and politics, but we as believers in Christ are also to view the movement of peoples through the lens of the call of God to love the stranger and alien (Lev. 19:33-34). A general trend historically is for the USA to receive refugees from countries where there has been conflict, and where our government hopes to instill democratic ideals. Already, the USA holds 20% of all international immigrants. It could be that we will be seeing refugees increase in the near future from Afghanistan and Syria.

For now, consider this excerpt from the article published June 19, 2013 by the BBC:

  • The UN says 7.6 million people became refugees in 2012, with the total number now higher than at any time since 1994.

  • A report from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that Syria is “a major new factor” driving up refugee numbers. The war in Syria could displace another two million people by the end of 2013

  • The report says 55% of all refugees come from five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.

  • It also found that developing countries now hosted 81% of the world’s refugees, 11% more than a decade ago.

“These truly are alarming numbers. They reflect individual suffering on a huge scale and they reflect the difficulties of the international community in preventing conflicts and promoting timely solutions for them,” said UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres.

Mr Guterres said that the figure of 7.6 million meant there was a new displaced person every 4.1 seconds. “Each time you blink another person is forced to flee,” he said.

The UNHCR says the figures are based on data from the agency itself as well as from governments and other NGOs.

Afghanistan remained the world’s biggest source of refugees, a position it has now held for 32 years, with 95% of Afghan refugees located in either Iran or Pakistan.

Somalis were the second biggest group of refugees in 2012, followed by Iraqis. Syrians were the fourth biggest group.

Accessed 6/19/2013 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22963060

 


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