World Refugee Day
This is the day each year when the United Nations High Commission for Refugees highlights the problems of refugees and urges global response. Trends had been that the number of refugees (including internally displaced persons) were declining for the last 5 years. However, this year the number of global refugees is up by a whopping 14%–nearly 10 million people forced to flee their homes. The increase is almost entirely due to the violence in Iraq, in which 1.5 million Iraqis have fled the country and another 2 million are internally displaced, says the United Nations. (The UN figures do not count the displaced Palestinians since 1948 and 1967, which would dramatically increase the figures again.) Conflicts in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, the Sudan (Darfur), and East Timor have also greatly increased refugee numbers. Internally displaced persons (who have fled violence but are still within their home nation, sometimes still in zones of conflict) are largest in the Darfur region of Sudan and in Columbia.
Since 9/11, fear of terrorists infiltrating their nations, has led many Western nations to refuse asylum to refugees, which has greatly increased the suffering of millions.
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