Divers - 9 octobre 2015

fr - Displaced Families

The definition of a displaced person is a person driven or expelled from his or her homeland by war, famine, tyranny, etc., or persons who lack a home, as through political exile, destruction of their previous shelter, lack of financial resources.

Wikipedia states that a displaced person is a person who has been forced to leave his or her home or place of habitual residence, a phenomenon known as forced migration.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or UNHCR, there were 59.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2014, the highest level since World War II : 19.5 million were refugees, 1.8 million asylum seekers and 38.2 million internally displaced persons.

The term was first widely used during World War II and the resulting refugee outflows from Eastern Europe, when it was used to specifically refer to one removed from his or her native country as a refugee, prisoner or a slave laborer. The meaning has significantly broadened in the past half-century. A displaced person may also be referred to as a forced migrant. The term "refugee" is also commonly used as a synonym for displaced person, causing confusion between the general descriptive class of anyone who has left their home and the subgroup of legally defined refugees who enjoy specified international legal protection. Most of the victims of war, political refugees and displaced persons of the immediate post-Second World War period were Ukrainians, Poles, other Slavs, as well as citizens of the Baltic states - Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, who refused to return to Soviet-dominated eastern Europe.

The above definitions only show a tiny fraction of the scope of forced migration today. Thousands of adolescents and children have flowed into the United States looking for a future. Even more recently, thousands have fled Syria simply looking for a decent life. Many lost their lives in doing so. The many families that have been displaced due to atrocities in their homelands deserve our help and respect, not a door shut in their face. Nations like Germany have opened their borders and more nations with the resources must do the same. Inform yourselves about the international crisis and raise awareness regarding humane strategies to alleviate this catastrophe.

Sheilah Dooley
October 2015