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  • A girl from an Afghan refugee family carries bottles to be filled from a nearby tap in a low-income neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan June 20, 2019.

    A girl from an Afghan refugee family carries bottles to be filled from a nearby tap in a low-income neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan June 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 June 2019
Opinion

June 20 market the U.N. World Refugee Day as more than 70 million across the globe are considered refugees, a situation exacerbated by Europe, U.S. 'closed door' policies.

June 20 is the United Nations World Refugee Day that this year is marked by the fact that there are currently more than 70.8 million refugees, generating cross-border migration flows that are increasingly refused by the United States, France, Italy, Mexico, Hungary and other 'developed' countries.

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"It's a fundamentally important day because we should all be aware that there are now more than 70 million refugees and internally displaced people across the world," says Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to Euro News.

"We haven't had such numbers since the Second World War," he added.  

Nearly a third of the world's refugees, are fleeing from African countries, such as South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. About four out of five refugees in Africa live in countries that neighbor their own, the majority of whom are women and minors.

"(This) is a wake-up call for leaders across the world. International diplomacy is failing these people, there's no effective conflict resolution, and more importantly, there is no way out from this, for many of the people who flee," stressed the council director.

Marie, a woman who has been living in a refugee camp in Kenya who fled Burundi with her family after her husband and brother were murdered, described being stuck in limbo in the camp. "We are now in a non-state because we do not move from here," Marie told reporters.

"The situation is very serious for a lot of these people because there is not enough help," says NRC spokesperson, Geno Teofilo.

Currently, anti-immigration measures by the United States and European nations are causing many refugees to remain stateless.

"Less resettlement means that more and more refugees will live for years, even decades, in camps", a member of the Crisis Group, Alan Boswell, said and regreted that few refugees coming from poor countries can access higher education, which could "improve their own country some day."

Prior to, and increasingly under the President Donald Trump administration, the U.S. has ceased to be a nation that welcomes immigrants say analysis.

"The Trump administration slashed the 'cap' on the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. to the lowest since the refugee program was created in 1980. The administration...took in just 22,491 refugees in the entire 2018 fiscal year," reports Business Insider.

Expressions of intolerance and xenophobia affect not only refugees but also the authorities who defend human rights. In Germany, Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker and Altena Mayor Andreas Hollstein received death threats a few days after Walter Lubcke, the mayor of North Hessen, was murdered after he defended pro-migrant policies in his city.

In Italy, far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini just passed a decree that refuses boats that save African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to dock in the country. 

"While the Italian government has just approved a decree that fights further against those trying to carry out rescues at sea, there is an exponential growth in the mortality rate in the Mediterranean,” Oxfam migration and asylum policy adviser, Giulia Capitani, said. While in 2018 one refugee for every 30 died trying to cross into Europe from Libya, but this year alone one in ever 6 migrants has perished trying to find safety in Europe.

According to 2018 UNHCR data, 40 million people are internally displaced and 10 million are considered stateless.

The countries with the largest outsflows of refugees are Syria with 5.5 million people, Afghanistan at 2.5 million), and South Sudan with 1.4 million.

The countries that have received the most refugees over the past several years are Turkey at 2.8 million, Pakistan that took in 1.6 million, Lebanon at 1 million, Iran has received 978,000, and Ethiopia, 742,700.

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