Today marks World Refugee Day — the international day to support and protect refugees across the globe. It also calls for refugees to be included in healthcare, education and sport.
World Refugee Day was first held globally in 2001, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
According to the UN Refugees Agency, there are 82.4 million people who have been forcibly displaced — a figure that has more than doubled from last decade (41 million in 2010).
The leading causes of this displacement include persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and disaster-related events.
Sixty-eight percent of the world’s refugees come from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
Naomi Steer is the Australia for UNHCR National Director, who says the increased frequency of climate change disasters has driven internal displacement.
“The dynamics of conflict, poverty, food insecurity and climate change are increasingly interconnected, and we’re finding more people displaced from a combination of these key drivers in search of safety, security or more hospitable environments,” she said.
Putting faces to the statistics
George Najarian is an Armenian refugee from Syria. Today, he resides in Australia and has raised over $12,000 for refugees. He has also spent countless hours volunteering and educating thousands about refugees.
“I’m proud of being a refugee because that shaped me,” he says.
“But I don’t want to stay just in the past, because the past has gone and I have a chance to shape the future, help others and contribute to Australia.”
Similarly, Sarab Shada was born and raised in Baghdad before she resettled in Sydney in 2019.
“Growing up in Iraq, there were no places for me to use my voice apart from the local church. So, I joined the church choir and sang with them for several years until my travels began.”
“Since arriving in Australia, I’ve completed my international certification as an English language teacher while going through the lengthy process of recognising my international degree,” she said.
The impacts of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed contemporary society as we once knew it. But these impacts are being felt on a much greater scale in refugee communities.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations believes a whole-of-community approach is the key to future success.
For the first time in 75 years, the entire world faces the same enemy: #COVID19.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 12, 2021
There’s a new understanding that whether it’s the pandemic or the climate crisis, we are all in this together – and #OnlyTogether will we get out of it.
Likewise, Ms Steer says 2020 was a devastating year for new internal displacements.
“2020 saw disasters trigger more than 30 million new internal displacements, the highest number in a decade and more than three times the displacements triggered by conflict and violence.”
In fact, 34,400 refugees were resettled to third countries in 2020. This is a 69 per cent drop from the previous year.
“COVID has dramatically magnified the risks in the past year, including many people stuck in desperate situations and finding it difficult to get proper help. It’s clear the impact on displaced people will be with us for years to come,” Ms Steer says.
Who hosts refugees?
In the Sahel region of Africa, which lies between the Sahara and the Sudanian Savanna, nearly 750,000 people were newly displaced last year.
The UNHCR believes it is one of the most complex regional crises worldwide. In Ethiopia, more than 750,000 people were displaced last year. Around 54,000 people fled the Tigray region into Sudan.
But where else do these refugees travel to? Turkey hosted nearly 3.7 million refugees last year. Similarly, Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda and Germany all took over one million refugees.
But Ms Steer says cross-sector collaboration and shared responsibility is the key.
“Governments, the private sector, corporations and individuals all have a part to play in keeping refugees safe,” Ms Steer says.
Are we doing enough?
World Refugee Day 2021 gives us the chance to reflect and think about how we can make the world a better place.
We know that there are people behind the statistics, and the data shows us that the global situation has worsened in recent times.
A 2017 survey from World Vision found that 91 percent of young people want to do more to help refugees. While, 14 percent believe Australia is doing enough.
But there are many small steps that we can make to raise awareness and funds for refugees.
This week, people took part in the 2021 Ration Challenge. It involves people eating the same rations that as Syrian refugees in Jordan for one week. This consists of 1.9 kilograms of rice, 170 grams of lentils, and 85 grams of dried chickpeas.
The Shoe Project, also encourages refugees and immigrants to improve their communication skills and work towards their goals in Canada. The program shows how footwear can make or break a journey, and shape a new future through interactive writing workshops.
The UNHCR also relies on generous donations and support from communities around the world.
Times may be tough for many, but World Refugee Day is a stark reminder of the vast inequality that many face on a daily basis.
Whether you are able to donate, or take part in one of the many grassroots programs, or not; take the time to think about the millions of displaced people, and their families on this World Refugee Day 2021.
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Trump’s campaign tactic – debase and disgrace the legal process
Donald Trump, former president of the United States, hated Arraignment Day I in Manhattan two months ago, the first time a former president had been criminally charged.
Trump was being forced against his will into a proceeding he had utter contempt for. He was being arrested and fingerprinted and photographed under an indictment under the jurisdiction of Manhattan in New York City for allegations of hush money payments and fraudulent bookkeeping practices to conceal criminal activity. Trump heard the charges read out against him and he entered a plea of not guilty.
Trump had a terrible day. Trump wore a scowl throughout. His countenance was fearsome. What Trump hated most about his arraignment in New York is that he had to sit at a table with his counsel side by side with him — equal to him — and with the judge above him looking down on him. Trump could not control the discussion and could not interrupt to make his points.
Trump was subordinate to the judge. He was subordinate to no one as president.
Arraignment Day II
Arraignment Day II in Miami will be worse from Trump, even more stressful. The charges are substantially more serious: the alleged violation of federal criminal statutes involving the alleged mishandling and illegal possession of classified documents, lying to legal authorities, and obstruction of justice. Potential penalties run to years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Trump throughout his business life had always crafted his affairs to avoid being a defendant. But in his term in office, he was caught up in it big time. He was a defendant in two impeachment trials – again, unprecedented events – and left office in disgrace.
But Trump does not feel disgraced. He never does. Trump does not have a reverse gear. He never retreats. Never admits. Never concedes. Never yields. Trump is never embarrassed. Trump never feels ashamed. When something goes wrong, it is always the fault of someone else.
Bill Barr SLAMS his former boss:— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) June 11, 2023
“He’s not a victim here. He was totally wrong that he had the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets that the country has…He had no right to maintain them and retain them”pic.twitter.com/VViNFpwbzt
And Trump never repents.
Trump can feel this way because Trump is waging war on behalf of his armies in “the final battle” for the future of the county. In his first, fiery post-indictment speech in Georgia, Trump said, “They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people. In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you … “Either we have a Deep State, or we have a Democracy…Either the Deep State destroys America, or WE destroy the Deep State.”
It is a powerful formulation, and his true believers love it.
Hours later, In North Carolina, Trump mainlined his distilled message for the Republican crowd:
“We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.
It’s totally corrupt and we cannot let it happen.
.@RepDanGoldman: "Donald Trump believed the law does not apply to him, and that he would do anything he could to conceal and maintain possession of highly, highly classified national security information that would jeopardize our national security." https://t.co/IfX8bV4EVk pic.twitter.com/Gvjv8aNFkn— The Hill (@thehill) June 11, 2023
This is the final battle.
With you at my side we will demolish the Deep State.
We will expel the warmongers from our government.
We will drive out the globalists.
We will cast out the communists.
We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.
We will roll out the fake news media.
We will defeat Joe Bide and we will liberate America from those villains once and for all.”
Any lesser mortal would be staggered by these events. Any other presidential candidate would be driven from the race. But not Trump.
Debase and disgrace
Trump is using the same playbook today as he successfully triggered after being charged in New York: debase and disgrace the legal process by terming it completely political. Trump said the federal indictment is “election interference at the highest level.”
Almost every other Republican running for president has adopted this line, insulating Trump from pressure to leave the field.
Trump’s chief opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after these indictments: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”
Republican congressperson Nancy Mace: “This is a banana republic. I can’t believe this is happening.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Democrats are arresting their political enemies. and they work together in their corrupt ways to get it done.”
Trump is using his affliction to raise millions of dollars from his base.
Trump will likely face Arraignment Day III in Georgia in August. A state prosecutor is expected to charge Trump with criminal interference in the certification of Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
As of now, there is no sign of cracks in Trump’s support among Republican voters. There is no surge to another candidate. What remains to be seen is whether Republican voters, as they see Trump spend his days in courtrooms and his evenings at rallies around the country, reach a conclusion that this is a spectacle too far, too much to bear, and that they want to turn to another conservative populist who stands for them in the political trials— and not the criminal trials – of 2024.
Donald Trump’s legal woes will serve him well
It’s not often that a U.S. President faces federal indictment, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it might as well be Donald Trump first.
The news that Donald Trump is facing a federal investigation over the removal of secret documents from the White House in 2021 came as no surprise.
Keen watches of the Washington soap opera have seen this playbook before, albeit in a different form.
There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a Washington outsider. But as seriously damaged as he may be (thanks to the events of January 6), his support base has only grown whenever he faces scrutiny.
For his supporters, his legal woes mirror their own relationship with the government – a giant, unfair beast that picks and chooses its fights.
Trump is accused of storing sensitive documents—including those concerning matters of national security—in boxes, some even in a shower.
The documents were seized last August when investigators from the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
The Department of Justice has historically avoided charging people who are running for public office. Whether they should do that is a debate for another day. But it’s happening now. And it’s making it all too easy for Trump to claim there is a concerted campaign to get him away from the White House.
Trump exposed the deep state. IF they exist, they probably don’t want him back in power. Whether they exist doesn’t matter really, because plenty of Trump’s supporters agree with him, and believe the secret state is working against them. Call it QAnon, call it a conspiracy – it doesn’t matter in a democracy.
The DoJ now has to go all in. Failing to secure a conviction would be a serious embarrassment for the department.
This is the second time Trump has been indicted in recent months, yet the opinion polls show he only increases his popularity among MAGA and Republican voters. It leaves the Republican party in a difficult position. Support their leading candidate or support the law?
As other Republicans rallied around the embattled candidate, Trump held on to his loyal base of supporters.
For the Democrats, and for Biden, another reality will soon sink in – if Trump becomes President, and they lose office next year, how will a Trump-run DoJ deal with them?
Broadly, the tit-for-tat one-up-manship of U.S. politics is breaking tradition and potentially breaking the country.
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