All around the world, there are more than 65 million people seeking refuge and relocation. With so much controversy surrounding the acceptance of refugees, the safety of those who are fleeing harm is at stake. Fiji is welcoming of refugees, and the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) works to ensure that refugees in Fiji will be acknowledged and their concerns heard.

Here are nine facts about refugees in Fiji:

  1. As of June 2, 2017, there are 12 confirmed refugees in Fiji.
  2. These 12 refugees are left from the original group of 40 refugees that arrived in Fiji in 2006.
  3. Fijian refugees come from various countries, including Pakistan and Congo.
  4. Fijian refugees are guaranteed confirmation thanks to something called “a claim for asylum,” which is filed when an individual indicates the want to be acknowledged as a refugee in Fiji.
  5. A lot of Fijian refugees are “climate refugees,” meaning that they are experiencing a sudden change in environment and climate in their country of origin and come to Fiji for refuge.
  6. Fiji has offered to give refuge to its neighboring citizens of Kiribati and Tuvalu in the event of a disaster.
  7. Fiji is at high risk for climate-induced natural disasters as well. So while Fijian refugees may find solace in their new homes, they may still be at risk of being affected by natural disasters.
  8. The UNHCR covers Fijian refugees by ensuring funding to Fiji to help protect their refugees.
  9. Refugees do not always permanently reside in Fiji, seeing as Fiji is typically a temporary holding ground for refugees rather than a permanent residence.

These nine facts about refugees in Fiji suggest that Fiji has struggled on its own, but its efforts to make Fijian refugees feel accepted and taken care of displays its ability to welcome those seeking shelter with open borders.

Trisha Noel McDavid

Photo: Flickr