The refugee crisis is global. Host countries face the challenge of forming a good balance between humanity, ethics and allocation of resources. Otherwise, there is a risk of creation of education, job and security problems.
Here are some highlights: Now, the world is at the highest levels of displacement.
According to UNHCR, nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day because of conflict or persecution.Compared to other continents, Europe has,over time had few refugees.
Let us have a look at one country in Europe; Austria. Since 1945, more than two million refugees have come to Austria. More than 700,000 stayed.
In December 2010, the Austrian government agreed to the intake of 31 Christian Iraqi refugees who had been persecuted on the basis of their religion. In autumn 2013 Austria began implementing a Humanitarian Admission Program (HAP) for Syrian refugees. The first part of the HAP (HAP I), with a quota of 500 Syrian refugees.The government designed a way to help Syrian refugees directly from the crisis region, separately from the ongoing regular asylum procedure.
Beside HAP, the Austrian Asylum Act (Art. 34) provides for the family reunification of recognized refugees with their core family who will then also be granted refugee status. Moreover, Minerva project in Salzburg, began in 2008. The program targets unaccompanied minors and adolescents,and seeks to provide them access to education, individual psycho-social support and young center activities.
The Guardian interviewed several children. They just arrived to Europe. A vast majority of unaccompanied minors are older boys. They are very young teenagers travelling alone, without contact with the state.
The 1951 refugee convention has played a huge role in ensuring their stay in host countries. However, incorporating them into the population proves to be a big challenge because these people are mostly poor and lack economic skill sets to support themselves in the host countries.
If the refugees were self-dependent and had technical skills, they, just like the Ugandans who immigrated into Kenya in the 1970s, would be easily absorbed into society.
Many things have been done to try settle the displaced people. Not all have been successful. Capitalizing on the gradual integration of children is one way that has worked.
Education restores hope and dignity to children driven from their homes-UNHCR
UNHCR has a policy that every child has a right to education. (UNHCR, 2016) Many children often find themselves in a world that does not understand their past. Sometimes, they do not know the language of the host country.
Here is a success story from Canada.
Although education is important, there are many other aspects that come into play.
According to a case study by Bo Søndergaard Jensen, a 60-year-old male Iraqi refugee was put into treatment for chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression in the psychiatric out-patient clinic for PTSD and Transcultural Psychiatry in Aarhus, Denmark. The patient had arrived in Denmark in 1993 and reported a history of persecution, arrest, detention, imprisonment, and torture in Iraq. He had been imprisoned for several months each time, including once in the 1970s, once the 1980s and once in 1990s.
Soon after his release from the last imprisonment, he left Iraq with his family. He reported having been subjected to various forms of torture, including severe beatings, flogging, electric shock, blindfolding, deprivation of food, water and sleep, verbal abuse, mockery/humiliation, being stripped naked, and being deprived of medical care.
His re experiencing symptoms included nightmares and intrusive images of the torture he had experienced under his imprisonment in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
He showed substantial distress when faced with reminders of the torture and the imprisonment (e.g., residential areas, because it reminded him about the secret prison in Baghdad where he was imprisoned as a political prisoner). Moreover his torture nightmares were very vivid, including smell and bodily sensations. After awakening he felt a painful sensation in the area where he had been whipped. The patient described, “Every morning, I feel the same pain as I did back then”.
In the period just before starting at the clinic, the patient had attempted to reduce his anxiety and irritability by using alcohol, though at the time he started treatment he had stopped this behavior.
The Minerva program in Salzburg, Austria is focusing on integrating unaccompanied minors and adolescents, into the labor and education system in almost a similar way. (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, 2016, pp. 29–31)
They help the young people by giving them access to education, individual psycho-social support and young center activities, which helps them be participants in every day activities of the host community.
Sandra Zawaideh tells the story of Matin, a 16 year old refugee from Afghanistan.
Austria is still in the process of trying to settle young people like Matin. However, the policies and practices are not the same in all countries. Some are considering sending the refugees back to their countries (Guardian, 2016.)
Some refugees have lived in camps for more than 20 years and are still not able to access rights to work and make a living in the host country. Others, like Austria, have developed a system that will help young people integrate and help build the economy after acquiring the needed skills.
Hopefully, other nations shall consider a change in policy and tact in the reception of displaced people.
Guardian, T. (2016, 5 11). Africa. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/11/kenya-close-worlds-biggest-refugee-camp-dadaab
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute. (2016). INTEGRACE: Integrating refugee and asylum-seeking children in the educational systems within the EU. pp. 29–31.
This story was created by a team of students at the 2016 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. It exists as part of a digital publication called MOVE which aims to educate readers on the social, political, and cultural impacts of global migration. All stories published in MOVE were created at the 2016 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change by students and faculty from around the world.