Inflammation and stories on UNHCR

Refugees in Malaysia
Due to its booming economy and multi-cultural society, Malaysia is a beacon in Southeast Asia for economic migrants and refugees alike. As the refugee crisis continues, Malaysia grapples with its institutions, history and policies towards migrants. Discussed below are some basics about refugees in Malaysia.

10 Alarming Facts About Refugees in Malaysia

  1. As of the end of April 2017, there are about 150,662 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia. Of these refugees, about 89 percent are persecuted ethnic groups from Myanmar, comprised of Rohingyas, Chins, Myanmar Muslims, Rakhines and Arakanese.
  2. About 11 percent of registered refugees are from other countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. About 67 percent of refugees and asylum-seekers are men, and 33 percent are women. About 36,331 refugees are children under the age of 18.
  3. In Malaysia, refugees are not distinguished from undocumented migrants and are at risk of deportation or detention. They lack access to legal employment and formal education. Refugees are able to access public and private healthcare, but this access is often hindered by the cost of treatment and language barriers.
  4. Because refugees have no access to legal employment, they tend to work difficult or dangerous jobs that the rest of the population does not wish to take. Refugee workers often face exploitation by employers who take advantage of their situation, paying them low wages or no wages at all.
  5. There are no refugee camps in Malaysia; refugees live in cities and towns across the country in low-cost apartments or houses. These accommodations are often overcrowded, and it’s not uncommon for several families or dozens of individuals to share a living space.
  6. Malaysia is neither party to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention nor its 1967 protocol. Malaysia is also not a party to the 1954 and 1961 U.N. Statelessness Convention. Malaysia lacks a legal framework for managing refugees, so the UNHCR conducts all activities concerning the registration, documentation and status determination of refugees. The Malaysian Government cooperates with UNHCR in addressing refugee issues.
  7. UNCHR began operations in Malaysia in 1975 when Vietnamese refugees began to arrive by boat in Malaysia and other neighboring countries. From 1975 to 1996, UNCHR assisted the Malaysian government in helping and protecting Vietnamese refugees. Over those two decades, more than 240,000 Vietnamese were resettled, and about 9,000 persons returned home to Vietnam.
  8. In the past, Malaysia has opened its doors to vulnerable populations through government programs. In 1991, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad championed a scholarship program for Bosnian Muslims after hearing the Serbs announce an ethnic cleansing campaign. However, they referred to participants as “guests” rather than refugees.
  9. As of 2015, the Malaysian government has pledged to shelter 3,000 Syrian refugees. Syrians will be given temporary residence passes, permission to work and permission to attend school. Though about 1,100 Syrian refugees are already in Malaysia, this program seeks to resettle more new refugees.
  10. As of March 2017, Malaysia has developed a pilot program to allow 300 Rohingya refugees to work legally within the country. Successful applicants will be placed with selected companies in manufacturing and agricultural industries. This project was instated to prevent forced labor and exploitation, as well to give refugees necessary skills and income to make a living before potential relocation.


The lives of refugees in Malaysia are often lived in the shadows, with a constant risk of deportation or detention. Refugees are most vulnerable, however, because their home country is too dangerous to return to. This is why the registration of refugees is essential to their safety, be it through UNCHR or the initiatives of the government itself.

Hannah Seitz

Photo: Flickr


Situated in southeastern Africa, Malawi is landlocked between Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. Over the last few decades, this largely agrarian nation experienced turbulent times. Despite inflation, corruption, HIV/AIDS and underdevelopment, Malawians are tenacious and remain incredibly friendly people. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Malawi:

  1. There are two camps for refugees in Malawi: Luwani (in the south) and Dzaleka (to the north). Luwani was reopened by the Malawian government in March 2016 to cope with refugees from Mozambique in the wake of conflicts between the government and opposition groups.
  2. At the end of March of this year, 3,073 Mozambican nationals who fled the Tete Province resided in the southern Luwani camp, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This was a reduction of 382 refugees in Malawi from the end of February.
  3. The Dzaleka encampment, near Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, houses refugees and asylum-seekers from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Somalia. Most stay a few weeks before heading to South Africa.
  4. In a March 2017 press release, the UNHCR officially claimed the “Dzaleka refugee camp, originally built for a population of some 9,000 people now has more than tripled in size to nearly 28,000 people.”
  5. According to Monique Ekoko, UNHCR’s Representative to Malawi, “The new arrivals of refugees in Malawi has been at a steady rate of between 400 to 700 people per month over the past two years.”
  6. More than one million Mozambican refugees fled to the Luwani Camp during the nation’s civil war from 1977 to 1992.
  7. Due to weather-related events, the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) suggests that 39 percent of the population (6,491,847 people out of a total population of 16,832,910) will not receive the minimum food requirement for 2016 and 2017. This is an increase of 129 percent since the previous year, a fact which makes it difficult to feed increasing numbers of refugees in Malawi.
  8. Mozambican officials pressure the Malawian government to refrain from recognizing every individual who crosses the nation’s borders as a refugee.
  9. Malaria, water shortages, dwindling food rations and respiratory infections are rampant in the encampments. Without proper funding, these and many other problems will persist.
  10. The Dzaleka camp’s health center serves a combination of 65,000 refugees and Malawians. Nearly 60 percent of the individuals cared for are Malawians.

The pressing problem of food insecurity – due to unpredictable weather and rising food prices – will be a major hurdle in the region’s recovery. Among its key planning figures for 2017, the U.N. expects to distribute an average of 2,100 calories to each refugee in Malawi and construct 920 latrines in the Dzaleka camp to meet sanitation standards. To reach long-term goals of peace and security, the UNHCR cites a 30 percent primary school enrollment figure for refugee children. With help of the international community, these activities should improve the lives of individuals in Malawi and promote regional prosperity.

JG Federman

Photo: Flickr


Tunisia is a small, African nation located on the Mediterranean Sea and nestled between Algeria and Libya that transitioned to a democracy after the 2011 Arab Spring and adopted a progressive constitution in 2014. In the same year, it held elections to elect a president. Its location makes it a favorite point for refugees in Tunisia, but most see it as a transit country.

10 Facts About Refugees in Tunisia

  1. Before 2011, only 100 refugees arrived each year in Tunisia. These refugees came primarily from Algeria, other western African countries, and Palestine.
  2. During the height of the Arab Spring in Libya in 2011, some 990,900 people (10 percent of Tunisia’s population) crossed the border into Tunisia. However, 77 percent of the Libyans who became refugees in Tunisia later returned to Libya.
  3. Since 2011, there has been a steady decrease in the number of “persons of concern” — a designation of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for refugees, returnees, stateless people and asylum-seekers — in Tunisia. The number of Tunisian refugees in 2017 is close to 1,000.
  4. Libyans arriving in Tunisia have three months before they must apply for a work permit from the Ministries of Interior. An organization called International General Services was created in Tunisia to assist refugees in becoming more self-reliant. Refugees sign one-year contracts with the service organization for jobs in fields such as maintenance in electricity and air conditioning.
  5. Tunisian refugees often arrive after being rescued from sea trying to get to Europe. Of the 900 people rescued by this method in 2015, 147 people claimed asylum in Tunisia.
  6. At the beginning of 2015, 80 percent of those who boarded boats in Libya and arrived in Tunisia were economic migrants looking for a better life. The remaining 20 percent were Eritrean, Somalian and Syrian refugees. The UNHCR assists Tunisia in determining if the person is a migrant or a refugee.
  7. Tunisian refugees have access to French and English language classes and may enroll in Information Technology training in the towns of Medenine and Ben Guerdane.
  8. The UNHCR is assisting Tunisia in drafting a new asylum law. Until that time, UNHCR is the sole entity conducting refugee status determination.
  9. All elementary school-aged refugees are enrolled in primary school once they have reached Tunisia.
  10. All asylum seekers in Tunisia receive health care. UNHCR covers the cost of primary and emergency visits through their partner, Tunisian Red Crescent.

Tunisia has seen the number of refugees increase greatly since 2011, and then decrease to a much smaller number today. The country’s location attracts both migrants and refugees. It has promised to adopt a national asylum law soon, which will take the burden away from the UNHCR as the sole entity conducting refugee interviews.

Jene Cates

Photo: Flickr

peope10 Facts About Refugees in Liberia
Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Liberia is a country located on the continent of Africa and has a population roughly of 4 million people. Liberia is home to thousands of refugees, many of whom originate from Cote d’Ivoire (also known as the Ivory Coast), a country just east of Liberia. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Liberia.

10 Facts About Refugees in Liberia

  1. There are currently over 40,000 persons of concern in Liberia. From this total, 38,000 refugees originate from Cote d’Ivoire. This means that Ivorian refugees in Liberia make up 95 percent of the total refugee population.
  2. Ivorian refugees often flee to Liberia due to civil conflict in their country of origin. Populations in the Ivory Coast are constantly clashing with a rebellion which began shortly after the turn of the 21st century. Since then, there has been a great deal of unrest in the Ivory Coast, forcing many people out of the country. Liberia became a destination for many of the Ivorian asylum-seekers.
  3. A large majority of Ivorian refugees in Liberia live in refugee camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  4. With the sudden surge of persons of concern, Liberia has requested $34 million in foreign aid. Liberia has only been granted 28 percent of the requested funds.
  5. It is suspected that the reason Liberia is receiving less funding for its refugees is due to the Middle East’s own refugee crisis. People seeking refuge from the Middle East are more likely to gain the attention of nonprofits and global organizations than the Ivorian refugees in Liberia.
  6. In 2016, an Ebola outbreak occurred in Liberia which resulted in thousands of deaths. According to the UNHCR, refugees in Liberia were impacted the most by the outbreak.
  7. Even though it has been over a decade since the war in Cote d’Ivoire, many of the refugees in Liberia feel they cannot return to their country of origin. Instead, many people fleeing from their home countries choose to settle in refugee camps in Liberia.
  8. In 2016, Ivorian authorities, alongside the UNHCR, called for all Ivorian refugees to return home to Cote d’Ivoire. Mariatou Kone, the Ivorian Minister of Solidarity, Social Cohesion and Compensation, stated that Ivorians have conducted two elections without any problems since the election, pleading for the country’s citizens to return home.
  9. Refugee camps in Liberia were never intended or designed to be long-term settlements. As a result, food rations, educational opportunities and medical care are becoming difficult to obtain for people seeking refuge in Liberia.
  10. The majority of people seeking refuge in Liberia are women and children. As a result, UNICEF is working closely in order to ensure proper medical care and child protection for these refugees. For example, in 2012 UNICEF helped more than 20,200 Ivorian and Liberian children through child-friendly education and healthcare programs.

 

The refugee crisis is putting a lot of financial pressure on Liberia. It is absolutely crucial that conditions improve for refugees in Liberia in the near future.

Morgan Leahy

Photo: Flickr


Tens of thousands of Malians have made their way to Algeria, Togo, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania and Burkina Faso to avoid oppression from armed conflicts between the Malian army, members of the Tuareg movement and other regional factions. In January 2012, a military coup exacerbated this exodus. Ever since this coup, violence in Mali has continued despite the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation that was signed in June 2015. This has hampered the return of displaced and stateless Malians who are spread across the continent. Prejudice, persecution and ethnic stigmatization continue to hinder the development of peace in the region.

10 Facts About Refugees in Burkina Faso

  1. As of March 2017, there were 32,972 individual refugees and 8,787 families residing in the country, according to government statistics and sources from The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Comparatively, in late December 2014, 32,097 refugees were in the country.
  2. Most refugees in Burkina Faso are women (51.6 percent), individuals between 18-59 years of age (40.5 percent) and children between the ages of 5 and 11 (26.28 percent).
  3. With respect to ethnicity, most refugees in Burkina Faso are Tuareg (75 percent). Over the last year, more than 2,000 refugees from northern Mali were registered. General regional insecurity, gender-based violence and food shortages are largely to blame.
  4. Fifty-seven percent of refugees do not have an occupation (8,801 males and 10,098 females). Most men are breeders (11.49 percent or 3,620) and most women are cleaners (12.17 percent or 3,964). In the capital, most refugee artisans, such as leather workers and blacksmiths, earn income from tourists and municipal needs. UNHCR provides financial assistance to artisans who organize themselves into groups.
  5. Refugees in Burkina Faso reside in two primary camps: Mentao and Goudoubou. As of March 31, 2017, Mentao holds 12,658 individuals and 3,534 families. Comparatively, Goudoubou has 10,131 refugees and 2,863 families.

  1. Every refugee within the Mentao and Goudoubou encampments has access to healthcare.
  2. A large percentage of refugees in Burkina Faso (80.33 percent) have a primary education – more than any other educational level. Roughly 46 percent of refugees are students (1,820 males and 1,300 females).
  3. According to the UNHCR April 2017 West Africa Funding Update, Burkina Faso has only received 16 percent of its needed funds – there is a gap of $17.8 million. Additionally, only 19 percent of the funding needed to support all West African refugees has been received. A total of $231.7 million is still needed.
  4. Based on March 2017 figures, a total of 776 individual refugees and 251 families live in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso, while in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, 607 refugees (mostly men) and 228 families have taken up residence. What distinguishes urban refugees from those in rural settings or encampments? The answer is twofold. Firstly, their skills are said to be more developed than those in traditional camps. Secondly, they have greater access to employment opportunities because of those skills. Together, these elements mean urban refugees have the means to support themselves, which reduces the need for humanitarian aid.
  5. In Burkina Faso, the National Commission for Refugees (CONAREF) and UNHCR provide financial, logistical and healthcare assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers (in addition to many other NGOs and government agencies). However, if refugees wish to return home, they can waive the protection and health care provided by these entities.

At present, the UNHCR plans to continue its registration of refugees in Burkina Faso. This includes identity cards, biometric CTVs and refugee certificates. This should enable the government to improve its data collection activities on refugees, stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness. Statistical accuracy will enable UNHCR, government agencies and non-governmental organizations to improve their quality of humanitarian assistance in the region.

JG Federman

Photo: Flickr


According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, there are almost 2,152,000 internally displaced Nigerian refugees as of Dec. 31, 2015. The displacement has been caused by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is an Islamic terrorist group that has been trying to enforce Sharia law onto Nigeria and other Northern African countries. Despite its violent strategic nature, the military campaign led by the newly elected president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has proven successful in recent efforts.

As reported by the International Crisis Group, Nigeria has been more successful in fending off Boko Haram and it has become less of a threat. Nigerian forces have been able to clear Boko Haram out of some occupied territory, thus opening up opportunities for citizens to return to their homes and humanitarian efforts to distribute much-needed aid.

The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) states that there are an estimated 8.5 million Nigerians refugees requiring humanitarian aid in 2017. Thankfully, the head Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has brought up a way for ensuring protection and solutions for the growing population Nigerians that are returning to their previously occupied homes. Working closely with the Nigerian government, Grandi presented a plan called “Directions on Protection, Access and Solutions for IDPs and Returnees in North-East Nigeria.”

The plan prioritizes voluntary returns and protection from gender-based violence to ensure the dignity and safety of those receiving aid. Access to both therapy and legal support, specifically to settle cases of unclaimed or claimed land, was also outlined in the plan. The main goal of UNHCR seems to be to establish social harmony among the tense community.  Goals of “empowerment,” “community reconciliation” and “gender equality” were also included.

With the U.N. raising more than $670 million in pledges that will help support aid for Nigerian refugees and their neighboring countries over the next two years, the victims of the widespread terrorism in North Africa will now have new found funding and resources to help them adjust back into their home lives.

Vicente Vera

Photo: Flickr


The small number of refugees New Zealand takes in ranks them 90th per capita in resettlement. After making adjustments considering wealth and population, the ranking falls to 116th. Many countries in Europe are critical of the small number of refugees New Zealand takes in. Here is a look at 10 facts about New Zealand refugees that may be a surprise.

  1. The New Zealand government works with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to offer refugees permanent resettlement in New Zealand.
  2. In 2016, after more than 30 years, New Zealand increased their refugee quota from 750 to 1000.
  3. New Zealand accepts refugees from the following major groups: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Rohingya and Syria.
  4. Refugees undergo background checks before being allowed to live in New Zealand.
  5. The needs and services required by refugees are determined prior to their arrival.
  6. Refugees must complete a six-week reception program at Auckland’s Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre (MRRC). The program helps refugees build social and coping skills and provides information regarding work and employment expectations.
  7. The Refugee Resettlement Strategy has five goals:
    · All refugees of working age have a job and income or are supported by a family member with a paying job.
    · All refugees actively participate in life in New Zealand and have a keen sense of belonging.
    · Ensure the health and well-being of refugees and their families.
    · Refugees can speak English well enough to allow them to participate in school and daily activities.
    · Refugees live in homes that are safe, secure, clean and affordable without assistance from government housing.
  8. Refugees settle in six regions: Auckland, Hamilton, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin.
  9. Family reunification is when a refugee living in New Zealand applies for a family member to receive a visa. Refugees coming to New Zealand on a Refugee Family Support Category visa do not receive financial assistance from the government or any of the resettlement assistance provided to refugees.
  10. Refugees who fear serious harm or cruel treatment if they return to their country of origin can apply for asylum. In 2013-14 New Zealand granted refugee status to 69 asylum seekers — a dismally low number when compared to countries such as Hungary (129, 203) and Sweden (228,601).

The Syrian refugee crisis in addition to 59.5 million people forced to flee their country of origin have drawn the attention of the world and highlighted the woefully small number of refugees New Zealand is willing to take in. These 10 Facts about New Zealand refugees make it clear that they have a strategy that helps refugees make a smooth transition from living in their country of origin to living in New Zealand. Sadly, it also highlights the unwillingness of New Zealand to stand with their international partners and do their fair share.

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr

Ten Facts About United Arab Emirates Refugees
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation consisting of seven states that has grown into the most important economic center in the Middle East. The UAE is heavily dependent on oil and was dependent on the fishing and pearl industries prior to 1950. The UAE is very diverse and has become a trading and tourism hub for the region and heavily controls its media content — which includes foreign publications — before distribution. Here are ten facts about United Arab Emirates refugees.

Ten Facts About United Arab Emirates Refugees

  1. The UAE agreed in September 2016 to take in 15,000 Syrian refugees over a five-year period.
  2. The UAE is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention and legally is not obligated to allow refugees to stay in the federation.
  3. The UAE allowed 123,000 Syrians to relocate to the federation since the start of the conflict in 2011, but these have been mostly families and professionals on work visas.
  4. The UAE is the largest donor to humanitarian and development aid in the world on a per capita basis. The UAE has donated $750 million since 2012.
  5. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not count refugees in the Gulf States due to these states not signing the Refugee Convention and therefore any refugee relocations are not handled by UNHCR.
  6. Keeping track of refugees in the Gulf States is difficult without data and they are referred to as Arab brothers and sisters in distress.
  7. United Arab Emirates refugees are given a permanent residence and freedom of movement to maintain their dignity. These refugees are also given access to work, medical care and education at no cost.
  8. In March 2017, Amnesty International noted that the UAE in addition to the other Gulf States had offered zero resettlement places to refugees seeking asylum in that federation.
  9. The UAE funds a number of humanitarian projects, such as Al Mreijeb Fhoud Refugee Camp in Jordan. This camp includes a field hospital with surgery, cardiology and pediatrics units that have treated about 500,000 refugees.
  10. UAE refugees fleeing conflict often do not want to be recognized or referred to as refugees in the Gulf States and tend to prefer to go to Europe to seek safety.

There continues to be an open conflict with UAE refugees and how the Gulf States will continue to handle these efforts without the aid of the U.N. However, the UAE maintains that it is offering the best aid to the millions of refugees that seek asylum in the federation.

Rochelle R. Dean


The U.N. projects that there are more displaced people in the world now than at any other time since World War II. Most of these refugees come from Africa, which has put large demands on European and African countries. Future refugee projections continue to rise due to ongoing conflicts and the effects of climate change. Case studies in Sierra Leone show us the importance of rehabilitating governmental institutions and economic markets in conflict-prone regions.

10 Facts About Sierra Leone Refugees.

  1. Thousands of natives fled their country during a bloody civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002.
  2. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), attempted to overthrow the president at the time, Joseph Momoh.
  3. This 11-year civil war resulted in 50,000 deaths and the internal displacement of two million people. Among the displaced, 490,000 sought refuge in the neighboring countries of Liberia and Guinea.
  4. In 2008, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees conducted a campaign in Guinea. The project aimed to inform Sierra Leone refugees of the upcoming withdrawal of their refugee status.
  5. The UNHCR convened in 2008, and found that conditions in Sierra Leone had returned to normal. This meant that Sierra Leoneans who fled their country during the civil war in the early 1990s would no longer be considered refugees because the root causes of the Sierra Leone refugee problem no longer existed.
  6. This decision was reached after an analysis of the fundamental and positive changes that have taken place in Sierra Leone. A peace agreement was struck between the Joseph Momoh government and the RUF in January of 2002, marking the beginning of these changes.
  7. Under a previous UNHCR initiative, a voluntary repatriation operation that took place from September 2000 to July 2004, more than 179,000 Sierra Leone refugees were able to return home.
  8. There are 13,500 refugees from Sierra Leone who continue to live abroad, 1,825 of whom are living in Guinea, and 2,368 in Liberia.
  9. The UNHCR voluntary repatriation operation for refugees from Sierra Leone ended in July 2004. This program offered financial assistance to refugees to assist in transit and resettlement in Sierra Leone.
  10. The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) continued to work with the local government to ensure that returning refugees were integrating effectively, without stressing markets. Additionally, UNDP continued to meet the needs and priorities of the government through aligning long-term development programs and non-governmental relief actors facilitating recovery.

Sierra Leone ended its 11-year long civil war in 2002 and has since re-established democratic institutions. This restructuring process strengthened Sierra Leone’s government and was essential to the reception of 60,000 Liberian refugees in 2005. Sierra Leone is a shining example for current conflict-rode regions as they look towards the future.

Josh Ward

Photo: Flickr


Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister, said Japan must improve its own living standards before concerning itself with Syrian refugees. Human rights groups and advocacy groups are highly critical of Japan’s refugee policies. Here are 10 facts about Japan refugees.

10 Facts About Japan Refugees

  1. The number of foreign people applying for refugee status in 2016 was up 44 percent, at an all-time high of just fewer than 11,000.
  2. Japan only accepted 28 refugees in 2016, an increase of one from 2015. Most of those applications came from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Bangladesh.
  3. In 2016, 97 people were allowed to remain in Japan for humanitarian reasons. They were not granted refugee status, however. According to Brian Barbour of the Japan Association for Refugees, 99 percent of asylum applications are denied.
  4. People applying for refugee status in 2016 included: 1,829 Indonesians, 1,451 Nepalese, 1,412 Filipinos, 1,143 Turks, 1,072 Vietnamese, 938 Sri Lankans, 650, Myanmarese, 470 Indians, 318 Cambodians and 289 Pakistanis.
  5. Japan’s population is shrinking and along with it, Japan’s labor force. Still, Japan does not accept unskilled workers, and there are no plans to increase the number of applicants granted refugee status. Japan has introduced a category that will allow for a large number of unskilled workers as trainees. Also, people with a student visa are allowed to work up to 28 hours per week.
  6. Only 69 Syrians applied for refugee status between 2011 and 2016 in Japan. In order to apply, applicants must go to Japan.
  7. Japan only accepts refugees who are being persecuted for political reasons; they do not accept economic refugees. Japan is closed to thousands of people seeking asylum including Syrians. Those who make it to Japan rarely have their refugee status recognized.
  8. Japan attempts to compensate for its decision not to take refugees by donating money to the UNHCR. In 2016, Japan was the fourth-largest donor, giving more than $164 million. In September 2016 Japan said it would provide $1.6 billion in assistance for Syrians and Iraqis engulfed in conflict.
  9. Japan plans to grant refugee status to 300 Syrians over the next five years. This number includes study abroad students and their families. Between 2017 and 2021, Japan plans to work with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to accept 20 Syrian students and their spouses and children each year if taking refuge in Lebanon and Jordan.
  10. In a move designed to show that Japan is willing to help with the Syrian refugee crisis, the government announced plans to accept 150 Syrian refugees over a period of five years as a part of the JICA program and the Japanese Government Scholarship program.

These 10 facts about Japan refugees make it clear that instead of accommodating refugees, Japan prefers to place a financial band-aid on the refugee crisis.

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr