Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
ROTARY PEACE INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP
CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY, BANGKOK, THAILAND
JUNE – SEPTEMBER, 2017
On this day (20 June), annually, the world acknowledges the trauma and hardship faced by refugees, celebrates their outstanding will and courage, the enormous impediments notwithstanding.
From records of the United Nations, UNHCR, European Union, and development agencies across the globe, more people than ever before are currently displaced by conflicts emanating from political instability, terrorism, ethnic conflicts and bad governance. More than 65 million have been driven from their homes, sadly, this is more than the populations of Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Netherlands, Liberia and Switzerland combined.
Each day thousands of people are made to feel unwelcome in their own countries. They are forced to escape from persecution and war and from natural disasters and even climate change. Nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide are now displaced from their homes.
From Nigeria in the heart of Africa, to Syria in the heart of the Middle East, millions have been displaced while more may face similar ordeal. More than half of the population of these displaced people are children and women who undergo high level suffering after experiencing a forceful shift from their homes to foreign lands.
We must however note, that these displaced boys and girls, women and men have emotions, ambitions, feelings and aspirations like every other human; they also rely on the rest of the world to come to their rescue.
Every day, international organizations and volunteers travel into conflict ridden areas to assist these displaced people. No doubt, these efforts have gone a long way in reducing challenges faced by these vulnerable populations. In Nigeria today, some displaced children are now in school, and some displaced mothers now have a trade.
However, we must do more to consolidate existing efforts. Our efforts this time should not only be reactive, but also proactive in order to prevent scenarios that lead to displacements. As international organizations continue their effort in stabilizing displaced people and securing a future for them, we charge governmental organizations to intensify effort in fighting this battle.
While reaching out to displaced persons- governmental organizations and the international community should employ more proactive measures to minimise conflicts, thereby minimising displacement rates. We also call on the private sector to galvanize efforts in combating the refugee crisis globally.
The least we can do is to welcome refugees into our communities. If refugees are accepted and welcomed and have a chance to learn and grow, then they will contribute socially and economically to their receiving countries, and to your community. It is time that we acknowledge the strength, courage and perseverance of refugees and the contributions they make to communities around the world.
You can help by sending a message to governments that they must work together to be more welcoming and supportive of refugees, and sign the WithRefugees petition organized by the United Nations, which calls on governments to make sure that every refugee child gets an education; every refugee family has somewhere safe to live and every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families. Add your name to the petition by visiting the United Nations website – http://www.unhcr.org/world-refugee-day.html
Rotary Peace Class 23, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Rotary Peace Class 23 are Peace and Conflict Resolution Professionals, drawn from 20 countries around the world, sponsored by Rotary International, for intensive training on new ways of responding to peace and conflict challenges towards global peace.