Refugee Problem

Context: World Refugee Day (June 20) is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

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World Refugee Day

  • The number of people affected by forced displacement due to conflicts and unrest worldwide is 103 million.
  • The presence of global conflicts, such as the ongoing wars in Ukraine, Myanmar, Sudan, and other regions, as well as the prolonged situations in Afghanistan and Somalia, poses an unparalleled challenge.
  • The issues of displacement are not limited to specific regions, as South and Southeast Asia also face these challenges.
  • In India, around 250,000 individuals have been forcibly displaced, with women and children comprising half of this population.

Challenges Faced by Refugees

  • Forced displacement: Refugees have been forced to flee their home countries due to conflict, persecution, or violence. 
  • Legal obstacles: Many refugees face legal challenges in obtaining official recognition and documentation in their host countries. This lack of legal status can limit their access to basic rights, services, and opportunities.
  • Access to essential services: Limited resources, language barriers, and unfamiliar systems can hinder their ability to meet basic needs and rebuild their lives.
  • Discrimination and xenophobia: Refugees may face discrimination and xenophobia in their host communities, which can lead to social exclusion and marginalization. 
  • Economic challenges: Refugees face economic difficulties, including limited job prospects, low wages, and financial instability. 

What is the Global Compact on Refugees?

  • It establishes a framework aimed at achieving more predictable and fair burden-sharing, acknowledging that effective and sustainable resolutions to refugee situations require international cooperation.
  • It serves as a guide for governments, international organizations, and other relevant stakeholders, outlining strategies to ensure that host communities receive the necessary support and that refugees are able to lead productive lives.

The GCR focuses on four primary objectives

  • Alleviating pressures on host countries: The compact aims to provide assistance and resources to host countries facing the strain of hosting large numbers of refugees.
  • Enhancing refugee self-reliance: The GCR emphasizes the importance of empowering refugees to become self-reliant by providing them with access to education, employment, and skills training. 
  • Expanding access to third-country solutions: The compact seeks to broaden opportunities for refugees to find durable solutions by facilitating their resettlement in third countries. 
  • Supporting conditions in countries of origin for safe and dignified return: The GCR recognizes the significance of addressing the root causes of displacement by supporting conditions in countries of origin and the reintegration of returning refugees with safety.

How did the Global Compact on Refugees develop?

  • New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants marked a significant milestone in fostering global solidarity and enhancing refugee protection during a period of unprecedented displacement.
  • Adopted by UN Member States in September 2016, its Annex I, known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), was implemented. 
  • Simultaneously, UNHCR led extensive consultations involving Member States, international organizations, refugees, civil society, the private sector, and experts.
  • These consultations aimed to learn from the application of the CRRF and gather valuable insights.
  • This inclusive two-year process culminated in the recognition and endorsement of the Global Compact on Refugees by UN Member States in December 2018.

The UN Convention on Refugees

  • Adopted in 1951 and in force since 1954, is an international treaty that focuses on global refugee protection. It is also known as the Geneva Convention. 
  • It has been supplemented by the 1967 Protocol.

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