World's Refugee Count Rivals Entire Population of France

Charlie McKenna | June 20, 2016
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Monday was World Refugee Day, and Twitter was duly abuzz with sentiments from world leaders and media outlets expressing sympathy for people displaced by conflict.

According to a new U.N. Study, there are now 65.3 million people displaced by conflict. That’s one in 113, and approximately the size of the entire French population. These refugees are predominantly Middle Eastern, with over half coming from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. About 40.8 million are internally displaced in their own countries, while 21.3 million have fled to other countries, primarily in Europe. Another 3.2 million are asylum seekers.

On a day like World Refugee Day, it is good to recognize the humanity of those who are displaced by war. But several responses to this data have been less than promising. Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees stated in a press address that he was concerned about a “climate of xenophobia” in Europe. World leaders such as Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all agree, and have spent the day encouraging a welcoming attitude toward immigrants.

However, the solutions these politicians propose are weak at best. Even without the added complication caused by radical Islam, assimilating people into an economy and national culture is difficult and time-consuming. Setting up refugee camps does not spark sustainable growth, and ultimately hurts all parties involved. 

But both the media and government leaders turn a blind eye to many crises, fueling other problems to avoid a “climate of xenophobia.”

Especially in light of these new overwhelming statistics, world leaders should consider a new approach this France-sized issue.

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