Throughout the centuries, the refugee crisis has been an issue that many generations have tried to solve. With each passing decade, the refugee crisis seems to be increasing more than ever before. According to the UNHCR, there are 65.6 million displaced people living in the world today (unhcr.org). The U.N. broke those statistics down and confirmed that 22.5 million are refugees; 17.2 million refugees are under the UNHCR mandate and 5.3 million are Palestinian refugees registered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 10 million people are not recognized by any states, and only 189,300 refugees were resettled in 2016 (unhcr.org). The refugee crisis has gone undefeated in the past generations and is still holding a championship position in our modern history. The civil war in the Middle East and South Sudan has been one of the largest drivers of the global refugee crisis, which has left a million people displaced. Inside and behind the facts are people filled with tears and unique life experiences hoping for a better future and dreaming for a better day. They are adults with a desire to return home, youth crying and willing to work again, and children trying to bring back the childhood that has been stolen from them. This is the story of many people who have been displaced and many lives in the Kansas City area from every corner of the world.
The ongoing violence in Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and other countries has resulted in 30 million desperate people seeking safety and a new start in other countries (unhcr.org). Since 2011, in Syria, over 12 million people have fled their homes, with almost five million refugees sheltering in neighboring countries that are struggling to support them. Marta Pachocka explained how this crisis overwhelms other intergovernmental organizations. She said, “For several years now, and particularly since 2014, the European Union has been experiencing a crisis in the field of international migration, asylum, and external border management." This is how dangerous the crisis is: the European Union is overwhelmed. The United Nations and other countries have tried to hold conversations to talk about conflicts and the civil war in Syria. Unfortunately, those conversations were unsuccessful to stop the fighting in Syria. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a refugee agency within the United Nations which was established in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes. They had only three years to complete the refugee work and then disband the refugee agency; but, after 68 years, the refugee agency has still not yet been able to accomplish its mission because of the rising refugee crisis. Those statistics show us how much the refugee crisis has been increasingly overwhelming to our generation. As a refugee myself, I am concerned with those statistics, because if they keep rising, it may lead to the increase of the majority of the refugees being women, young people, and children.
This refugee crisis might live forever if we are unable to solve it today. This issue might increasingly overwhelm the next generation if we do not play a role in finding a solution to this situation that has led not only me to spend my entire childhood in a refugee camp without a playground in my backyard or in my schools, but also many people young people and children who are still struggling in the refugee camps.
About the Author
Engoma Fataki is a junior studying Political Science and International Studies with a minor in Peace and Conflict Resolution at Missouri Western State University, where he was elected as Student Body President for 2019-2020. He is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He and his family lived in refugee camps in Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. He currently serves as a summer 2019 events intern with the IRC.