The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
FAQ: The Refugee Crisis
What is the scope of the refugee crisis?
According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are currently 65.3 million displaced people and 21.3 million refugees worldwide, surpassing the record set in World War II. The civil war in Syria is responsible for the recent significant increase in refugees, including many of whom are now seeking to enter Western Europe. In 2015 alone, over a million refugees arrived at Greece and Italy’s shores after undertaking a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Refugees also hail from other nations including Afghanistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, South Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria and Ukraine.
Why are refugees leaving Syria?
Since 2011 when anti-governmental protests led to civil war in Syria, about 11 million people have fled their homes. During the past six years of conflict in Syria, 470,000 people have been killed and 1.88 million have been wounded. . The UN reports that “By the end of 2014, Syria had become the world’s top source country of refugees, overtaking Afghanistan, which had held this position for more than three decades.” Today, on average, almost one out of every four refugees is Syrian, with 95 per cent located in surrounding countries.
Why has this recently become a prominent issue?
UNHCR, the key UN agency responding to the refugee crisis, has been challenged by the scope of the need. It is unable to meet the demand for resources in Syria such as food, clean water, health care and education. Refugees are now seeking to leave the region for safer and more stable nations. Traveling via Turkey and the Balkan countries, many refugees are trying to reach Germany, England and other Western European nations. The spotlight and onus has shifted to predominantly Western European countries to respond to this challenge.
What has been the global response?
Just five countries have taken in 95% of Syrian refugees: 2.9 million in Turkey; 1 million in Lebanon; 659,000 in Jordan; 236,000 in Iraq; and 122,000 in Egypt. In Western Europe, German and Sweden have received the most requests for asylum. US News has a comprehensive list of nation by nation responses.
What has the United States done vis-a-vis Syrian refugees?
The UN reports that the U.S. is the largest donor to its refugee aid program. The United States has given the largest share of humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugee crisis, contributing more than $6.5 billion since the beginning of the crisis.
Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in 2011, nearly 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the U.S. In total, the U.S. set an annual cap of 70,000 refugees for 2015 and of 85,000 for 2016.
What has Canada’s response been?
The Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has resettled over 40,000 Syrian refugees since November 2015. The government has partnered with private sponsors, such as churches, synagogues and individuals, to account for a significant portion of the sponsors.
What has the URJ and CCAR said about refugees in past resolutions?
What can we do?
Where can I learn more?