Facts About Genocide in Sudan
Genocide in Sudan has been continuous since post World War II and has become known as the first genocide of the 21st century. The first Sudanese Civil War began in 1955 and did not end until a peace treaty was created in 1972, lasting for 11 years before the second Sudanese Civil War began in 1983 and ended again in 2005. Within this span of time, numerous peace treaties have been drafted to cease violence across Sudan. However, the issue of genocide has continued to be a problem throughout the country. Here are some facts about genocide in Sudan:

7 Facts About Genocide in Sudan

  1. The genocide began with a civil war caused by The Khartoum government, led by General Omar al-Bashir, that wanted the group of Christians and animists who lived in southern Sudan to conform to an Islam-based government. The International Criminal Court put out a warrant for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir on March 4, 2010 for charges of genocide and acts against humanity. The Sudanese government retaliated by failing to give al-Bashir over and refused sources of aid from other countries.
  2. In 2005, and with international aid, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended the civil war by providing South Sudan with more political power.
  3. Seen as a step toward ending the violence, South Sudan was named a new country on July 9, 2005.
  4. A rebellion in the Darfur region of Sudan led to the genocide of civilians, causing the death of more than 300,000. Another of the facts about genocide in Sudan is that the Darfur Genocide began in 2003 with the mass murder and rape of people living in Western Sudan. These killings were carried out by a government-funded group called the Janjaweed. The group was called upon to stop a series of rebellions in Darfur. These attacks continued until 2010 when the Sudanese government had the Darfur rebels sign an agreement to cease fire and the two groups began drafting the Doha peace forum, which was a long-term peace agreement.
  5. Two factors that played a role in the conflicts are the competition over short-supplied resources and the north’s socio-economical takeover of the southern Sudanese, who as a majority are non-Muslim and non-Arab.
  6. Many of those who fled the genocide occurring in Sudan now live in one of 13 refugee camps in Chad. There are more than 360,000 people who reside in these camps.
  7. Violence has carried on into 2016. According to the U.N., more than 3 million remain affected by the ongoing genocide. Amnesty International asserted the government utilized chemical weapons against its citizens and 190,000 people were moved from Sudan.

Though civilians are still heavily impacted by the genocide occurring in Sudan, there are ways that the U.S. and the U.N. can help. Outside of stating facts about genocide in Sudan, the U.S. can request a thorough independent international investigation of the crimes committed on citizens throughout Southern Sudan with the International Criminal Court. The U.S. government can also request the U.N. Security Council accredit a force to maintain peace and provide resources necessary to protect the citizens in Sudan and the surrounding area.

– Alyssa Hannam
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Poverty in Istanbul Turkey plays an important role geopolitically, and its most important city, Istanbul, bears the majority of that burden. The government in the only city that spans two continents is currently going through significant changes. Addressing poverty in Istanbul is now at the top of the to-do list. Below are 10 facts about poverty in Istanbul that will illuminate some of the issues that plague the region and megacities across the world, and will provide some insight into the best ways of tackling them.

Facts About Poverty in Istanbul

  1. The number of people living below the poverty line in Istanbul has never been smaller. Over the past 10 years, the share of the population living on less than $4 a day has fallen from more than 20 million to just 1.7 million.
  2. The expanding difference between the rich and poor is a global issue and is one of the most commonly referenced facts about poverty in Istanbul. The Ministry of Development released data indicating that while the wealthiest 20 percent used to make 9.59 times what the poorest 20 percent did, that number has fallen to 7.96. This shows that poverty in Istanbul is being addressed by the shrinking the number of impoverished people and by closing the gap between the rich and poor.
  3. The lack of urban planning has perpetuated the realities of many facts about poverty in Istanbul. Much of Istanbul’s impoverished population resides in shanty towns, or gecekondu. More than 70 percent of the city’s housing has been built in the past 30 years. Over the same period, the population more than doubled. This has created problems with development as the government razes these properties to give way to larger projects, causing many forced evictions of the city’s most vulnerable populations.
  4. While poverty in Istanbul is a major concern, the city is doing much better than the rest of the country. This is problematic for the nation as a whole, as Istanbul residents on average make almost three times more than citizens in the more impoverished southeastern region.
  5. A significant cause for concern illustrated by these facts about poverty in Istanbul are the more than 500,000 Syrian refugees that call Istanbul home. To help reduce poverty among the refugees, Turkey has allowed them to live and work where they please, rather than being subjected to the often brutal conditions of refugee camps. Syrians can move freely throughout the city, and municipal governments have built schools that follow a Syrian curriculum, soup kitchens and even Beyaz Masalar, which are community centers that provide a venue for the Syrians to voice their needs and concerns.
  6. All is not great for children in Istanbul, however. More than 40,000 children are forced to work on the streets, many of whom are migrant children.
  7. Turkey’s football clubs are helping. Partnered with the UNDP, one of Turkey’s most famous football clubs, Galatasaray, pledged to raise funds for programs that fight poverty, inequality and exclusion.
  8. The country is tackling illiteracy as a way to bridge the gap. Literacy has been an important issue in Turkey since its modern inception in 1928. Nationwide. more than 3.8 million Turks cannot read or write. To address this issue, the organization ACEV started in Istanbul with three principles: “ (1) Equal opportunity in education for all; (2) Learning is a lifelong process that must begin in early childhood; (3) The child, as well as his or her immediate caregivers, must be educated and supported.” More than 125,000 people have learned to read with the assistance of this program.
  9. The government sponsors women’s literacy programs to address gender inequality. Access to education for women has long been an issue for Turkey. According to UNESCO, 9.7 percent of women could not read in 2014, compared to just 2.1 percent of men. As a result, President Erdogan and his wife Emine launched a female literacy campaign with the hopes of giving women greater access to the professional market, as well as providing greater independence throughout their everyday lives.
  10. When analyzing poverty in Turkey as a whole, poverty in Istanbul serves as a microcosm. Statistics regarding inclusion (or lack thereof) of minorities, women and immigrants mirror the rest of the country. However, the city and its superior economic resources and infrastructure provide a model that other cities can use when they look to address their poverty issues.

The economic situation for Turkey has been improving, but factors like the refugee crisis and urban-rural divide complicate it. Still, despite political tension within its borders, both sides of the aisle are putting a significant focus on the impoverished, citizen or not. Hopefully, countries in similar situations can look to Turkey and its handling of Istanbul as a model for poverty reduction.

– David Jaques

Photo: Google

facts about poverty in Syria
Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, poverty in Syria has dramatically increased due to violence and a collapsed economy. Below are 10 facts about poverty in Syria.

  1. Before the crisis, Syria was a middle-income country. Now, more than 80 percent of people are living in poverty, perhaps the most severe of these facts about poverty in Syria. Within Syria’s shattered economy, 70 percent of people lack regular access to clean water and 95 percent lack satisfactory healthcare. From 2011 to 2016, cumulative GDP loss is estimated at $226 billion.
  2. Since the war began, an estimated 470,000 people have been killed. Of those, 55,000 have been children. Since foreign powers have joined the conflict, the war has become even deadlier.
  3. Before the civil war, Syria was polio-free. However, in 2017, 74 cases of polio were detected.
  4. Since December 2017, an estimated 212,000 people have fled their homes. Most displaced people are living with insufficient access to aid in makeshift shelters. Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, is a particular area of intense fighting unreached by aid. In total since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 million Syrians have fled their homes to other Syrian cities or to neighboring countries.
  5. Turkey currently hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees at 3.5 million. However, 90 percent of them in Turkey live outside of aid camps and have limited access to basic services.
  6. Children lack educational opportunities and the war has reversed two decades of education progress. More than two million Syrian children are no longer in school. One-third of schools are not in use due to damage.
  7. Children are often seen as a nation’s hope for a better future, but these children have undergone high amounts of stress through having lost loved ones, suffering injuries, missing years of schooling, and experiencing violence and brutality. In addition, children are particularly vulnerable to health risks, abuse or exploitation. Many are drafted into the war or captured on the long trips they must make to safety.
  8. The war has destroyed Syria’s agricultural infrastructure and irrigation systems resulting in decreased food production. Wheat has dramatically suffered from both conflict and low rainfall. Since 2010, the overall food production in Syria has dropped by 40 percent.
  9. Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, Syrian humanitarian needs have increased twelve-fold. An estimated 13.1 million people are in need, and close to three million people are trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. Of these, more than 90 percent are in Eastern Ghouta.
  10. Charity organizations across the globe are working to help the millions of Syrians affected by the war. Five of the top charity groups are UNICEF, Save The Children, Syrian American Medical Society, The White Helmets and International Rescue Committee.

These facts about poverty in Syria illustrate the need for more help. Humanitarian organizations are struggling to meet the needs that continue to grow. In 2017, $4.6 billion was required to give emergency support and stabilization to families throughout the region. Only half was received. To build resilience against poverty in Syria and to increase peaceful communities, it is essential to increase funding.

– Anne-Marie Maher

Photo: Flickr

The recent use of chemical weapons in Syria has once again brought attention to the country and its citizens, those remaining within Syrian territory and facts about refugees who have been forced to flee. The conflict in Syria has created an unprecedented amount of refugees, the largest number on record. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees defines a refugee as “any person forced to flee from their country by violence or persecution.”

The journey of the refugee is riddled with uncertainty. The person is forced to leave their home and become an asylum seeker. The asylum seeker enters a foreign state in search of refugee status. For many asylum seekers, the journey is perilous. Traditional and safe forms of transportation across state boundaries are rare. For Syrians hoping to make landfall in Europe or Libya, options were limited and sea voyages were often part of the journey.

The lack of adequate vessels and safety equipment led gave way to unfortunately high mortality rates on the sea. The images emerging from the shores of Greece, Turkey and Libya capture the dire situation under which this journey was made. Major media outlets have published images showing refugees tired, distressed or worse. What is missing from this seemingly hopeless narrative are the rights guaranteed to these people as global citizens.

Refugees are entitled to certain rights. These persons are entitled to security, are not to be involuntarily returned to the country from which they are fleeing and should receive the same rights as other foreign nationals. Often, the influx of large quantities of people into already fragile economies creates an environment that does not allow the refugee the living conditions and opportunities for education, work and healthcare that are called for by human rights standards.

Often the very meaning of the word refugee is misunderstood. Surrounding the issue of displaced persons are numerous misconceptions and the facts are lost in assumptions. In hopes of clarity and dissuading any misconceptions about who refugees are, here are some facts about refugees:

Facts About Refugees

  • Around 65 million people are displaced currently; this number accounts for refugees living inside and outside the country where they are facing persecution.
  • More than half of refugees are produced by only three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
  • More than half of the refugees around the world are under the age of 18. These children are five times less likely to be enrolled in school.
  • Lack of economic opportunity and poverty do not qualify a person as a refugee.
  • Refugee crises are far-reaching and impact almost every continent. The Middle East and North Africa is not the only region impacted by refugees.
  • The average length of displacement is more than 10 years.
  • Being granted asylum in a state does not guarantee resettlement in that state.
  • In 2016, 189,900 refugees were resettled, compared to the 22.5 million refugees that were living outside their home country.
  • African and Middle Eastern countries host more than half of all current refugees. European countries and the Americas account for a little more than 30 percent of refugees.
  • The United States accepted the largest amount of refugees in its modern history in 1980.
  • The United States Refugee Admission Ceiling in FY 2016 was 85,000 persons.

The story of the refugee cannot be easily described through numbers and statistics. The larger narrative is more complex than can be easily summarized into key facts. The numbers neglect the individual experience of the refugee. These facts about refugees not do justice to the larger issue of statelessness but rather offer a snapshot of the problems facing displaced persons and the global community.

As these facts about refugees illustrate, refugees are often subjected to living in extreme poverty due to lack of resources available in camps and the slow, bureaucratic process of resettlement. These individuals lack access to adequate healthcare, education and opportunity for economic growth. Camps intended for emergency shelter become long-term solutions. There are many organizations doing incredible work to provide food, shelter and services to displaced persons.

– Madison Shea Lamanna

Photo: Flickr

combating statelessness for Rohingya refugees
The Muslim Rohingya minority found in Myanmar have been systematically stripped of citizenship in bureaucratic ways, which has led to combating statelessness for Rohingya refugees.

In 1982, the ruling military junta put in place discriminatory citizenship laws in Myanmar. The law favors the country’s “national races” and excludes the Muslim Rohingya and several other ethnic minorities, automatically granting full citizenship to these “national races.” The national races include groups that were present in Myanmar before the British conquest in 1824.

Removing Rohingya Rights

Throughout past years in Myanmar, each form of ID was declared invalid and then taken from the Rohingya, replaced with a card that indicated fewer rights. The “white cards,” created in 1982, were temporary documents that left the Rohingya in legal limbo.

Currently, the authorities urge the Rohingya to apply for a “national verification card.” The new identification card is highly criticized because of the multistep citizenship process associated with the cards. Many Rohingya, in addition, don’t feel confident that they would have “full” citizenship or basic rights with the new cards.

Nurul Hoque and his family are Rohingya refugees that are fearful of these new cards. He holds on to his grandfather’s old and frail identity card from Myanmar from before the implementation of the discriminatory citizenship laws. This old document is a reminder of a life that he and his family had left behind in Myanmar.

Nick Cheesman, a political scientist at Australian International University, describes to DW that the deprivation of citizenship among Rohingya was not a result of the 1982 law but more an inaccurate implementation of the law.

United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees and Combating Statelessness

In combating statelessness for Rohingya refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) has declared a worldwide effort to end statelessness by 2024. Around 10 million people in the world are denied citizenship, which causes many obstacles in obtaining basic rights.

To overcome statelessness, the UNHCR works with many other organizations to assemble and endorse more compelling solutions. It collaborates with other international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, national human rights institutions and academic and legal associations. The United Nations General Assembly granted, through a series of resolutions in 1995, the UNHCR the formal approval to combat statelessness through identification, prevention, reduction and protection of stateless individuals.

The UNHCR believes that citizenship, or some structure of documented status within a state, is required for basic rights to be achieved. This statelessness determination status, though, is to give individuals an interim way to attain basic rights. The final goal is to end statelessness altogether.

United States Assistance to Myanmar

The United States humanitarian policy in Myanmar has been guided by the importance of protection of basic rights for refugees and asylum seekers. On September 20, 2017, the State Department allocated $28 million in humanitarian aid for displaced people in Bangladesh.

The overall objective for United States policy in Myanmar is to establish a democratically elected civilian government that recognizes human rights and civil liberties of all Myanmar citizens and residents, revealing another effort in combating statelessness for Rohingya refugees.

– Andrea Quade

Photo: Flickr

SOS Méditerranée Saving the Distressed at Sea
Thousands of migration attempts across the Mediterranean take place every year. By mid-November of 2017, over 150,000 people reached Europe by sea. During this time, almost 3,000 were found dead or declared missing. NGOs accounted for 40 percent of all lives saved in the Mediterranean during the first half of 2017.

SOS Méditerranée is a European maritime and humanitarian organization responsible for the rescue of lives in the Mediterranean. The organization was created in response to the deaths in the Mediterranean and the failure of the European Union to prevent them. Its mission focuses on three key points: to save lives, to protect and assist and to testify. It was founded by private citizens in May of 2015 and works as a European association with teams in Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. Together the countries work as a European network,  jointly financing and operating the rescue ship Aquarius.

Since February of 2016, Aquarius has operated in international waters between Italy and Libya. Since then, the rescue ship has welcomed more than 27,000 refugees aboard. Once aboard, Aquarius provides emergency medical treatment through its partnership with Doctors Without Borders. This supports the organization’s second key mission, to protect and assist. It provides both medical and psychological care to those on board and then works to connect them to supporting institutions in Europe.

In early March of 2018, the Aquarius welcomed aboard 72 survivors from a merchant ship after two tragic operations in the Central Mediterranean. The Aquarius was the only search and rescue vessel present in the area. It was mobilized to search for a boat in distress in international waters east from Tripoli by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome. Its rescue operations involved a complex search of 120 nautical miles over the course of 24 hours. Those rescued were from 12 different countries, mainly in West Africa, but also from Sudan and South Sudan. Once aboard, the survivors were able to receive the medical treatment they desperately needed.

SOS Méditerranée wants to give those rescued a voice, to testify, and show the actual faces of migration in the hope of bringing awareness about refugees in the Mediterranean and remembering those who were unsuccessful in their journeys. Evidence from the Mediterranean Migration Research Programme (MMRP) has examined the dynamics of migration to Europe from 2015 and 2016, as well its difficulties. Its key findings challenge assumptions about the dynamics of migration, including that migration is primarily driven by the need to access jobs and welfare support.

Instead, the MMRP found that the vast majority of people migrate across the Mediterranean by boat because of the belief that their lives are in danger or in hopes of a better future. During its study in 2015 and 2016, nearly 1.4 million people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe. However, due to the absence of legal routes to reach the E.U., migrants resort to dangerous crossings with smugglers. There is an urgent need to greatly expand safe and legal routes for the protection of these migrants.

Thanks to organizations like SOS Méditerranée, there have been thousands of lives saved in the Mediterranean. However, joint efforts must be made in order to prevent any further lives from being lost.

– Ashley Quigley

Photo: Flickr

The Four Key Components of United Nations Refugee Agency
Currently, more than 65.6 million of the world’s population has been forcibly displaced due to conflict, persecution or inhospitable living conditions within their home countries. A majority of these refugees end up in temporary refugee camps, awaiting relocation in both private and state-backed developments. Unfortunately, resources in resettlement countries tend to be limited in capacity to help the millions of displaced.

Policy of Hope and the United Nations Refugee Agency

Fortunately, the international community is making strong efforts to provide both on-the-ground and financial resources to the countries that house the greatest number of refugees. Many organizations see this policy of hope as a universal good, and deem it paramount to find new homes and lives for those who are displaced.

Organizations like the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) work tirelessly to ensure that those displaced have a global advocate looking out for them.

The organization operates on several different levels to assist refugees around the world and saves the lives of thousands who would otherwise be left without any critical survival resources. Several of the most impactful divisions within UNHCR are its protection, shelter, health and advocacy programs.

1. Protection

The protection program seeks to ensure the safety of individuals under the label of refugee. The United Nations Refugee Agency provides funding to security partners who offer legal and physical protection to refugees and minimize the threat of physical violence in refugee camps. The protection program also generates funding for law schools and government agencies to emphasize coursework and professional development in refugee protection.

2. Shelter

The shelter unit of the United Nations Refugee Agency distributes tents and plastic sheeting that are used to make simple shelters in refugee camps throughout the world. The shelter program also funds the rehabilitation of communal displacement shelters, the construction of brand new homes, and also provides materials for those who choose to build homes themselves under self-help schemes.

3. Healthcare

The United Nations Refugee Agency also has a healthcare provision program which assesses the basic health needs of those living in a refugee camp. On a more general scale, UNHCR provides communities with HIV protection, reproductive health services, food and water security, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.

If there is a specific disease that is particularly prevalent in the camp, the United Nations Refugee Agency assesses the situation and provides what is most necessary. For instance, to flee conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many settled in refugee camps in Uganda. Unfortunately, the Ugandan refugee camps were rampant with malaria. Accordingly, UNHCR provided over 40,000 malaria nets to the camps, protecting many.

The provision of these essentials greatly benefits the refugees living in the camps and helps to ensure that they have a greater chance of survival and relocation.

4. Advocacy

The United Nations Refugee Program advocates for policy changes as well. The UNHCR has specific policy guidelines and standards that it advocates governments adopt. Each year a team assesses how trends in refugee movement and aid shift and adjusts the standards to ensure that needs of the many are met most effectively.

Overall, the world refugee crisis is both an overwhelming and daunting issue. Despite the scale of the problem, organizations like the United Nations Refugee Agency will continue to work as long there are refugees who need its help.

– Daniel Levy

Photo: Flickr

TPS for Syrian refugeesThe Syrian refugee crisis has been the world’s largest humanitarian crisis for the past six years. The U.S. government has made a decision to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to 7,000 displaced Syrians. The announcement came on January 31, 2018, which granted 18 months of TPS for Syrian refugees in America.

About 400,000 deaths have resulted from the Syrian conflict since April 2016. Nearly 13.5 million people living in Syria face threats, displacement, hunger, injury and death. 6.1 million people living in Syria are displaced from their homes, and more than 4.8 million have fled the country.

Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have taken in millions of Syrian refugees. The majority of refugees are children, who face malnutrition, forced labor, child marriage, militant drafting, disease and death. A recent survey by U.N. cooperatives shows that children living in Lebanese refugee camps are more vulnerable to forced labor and child marriage than ever before. Syrian refugees in Lebanon live on less than $4 a day.

Jordan, considered one of the United States’ partners in alleviating the Syrian refugee crisis, has recently made breakthroughs to alleviate the dependence of refugees. As part of a compact deal that has increased international aid to Jordan, the country was able to issue more than 88,000 work permits to Syrians, allowing refugees the ability to meet their basic needs. Of the 655,000 Syrian refugees exiled in Jordan, approximately 80 percent of them live outside camps, living below the poverty line on less than $3 a day.

Recognizing the terror that Syrian refugees face by returning to their home country, the U.S. has decided to grant a TPS for Syrian refugees for 18 more months. This decision was directly influenced by the extraordinary conditions surrounding the ongoing armed conflict. The TPS for Syrian refugees only applies to those who have continuously resided in the U.S. since August 1, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2016. The designation of the TPS for Syrian refugees is subject to be renewed based on conditions in Syria after the 18-month period expires.

This TPS designation comes after years of abuse by Syria’s Assad regime, and extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The crisis in Syria is by far the most tragic humanitarian crisis in the world today.

The U.S. government has spent nearly $6 billion on humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian conflict. Funding supports the provision of emergency food, medicine, safe drinking water and other relief supplies to conflict-affected people in Syria and neighboring countries. This humanitarian aid comes in the form of cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing. Shelter kits, non-food items, protection services and psychosocial support are provided to those who have been displaced but remain in Syria.

International officials ministering to Syrian refugee camps state that more international aid is needed for humanitarian efforts to lift millions of Syrian refugees out of poverty.

– Alex Galante 

Photo: John Stanmeyer

stateless groups
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the internationally recognized legal definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered a national by any State under the operation of its law.” A person or a group of people with the status of “stateless” usually means they are not allowed to get an education at school, see a doctor, get a job or have access to other basic human rights within a nation.

Some people are born stateless; other groups become stateless if their government does not establish them as nationals that have representation under state law.

Here is a list of five currently stateless groups in the world:


1. The Rohingya

The Rohingya are a group of Muslims of South Asian descent that populate western Myanmar and Bangladesh. Myanmar’s government pushed many Rohingya out of Myanmar, which is how they ended up in Bangladesh and other nearby regions. Myanmar, dominantly Buddhist, doesn’t want to accept this ethnic group into their nation. As a result, many Rohingya suffer from intense discrimination, hatred and unkind deaths. With nowhere and no one to support them, the Rohingya are completely dependent on foreign aid.


2. The Roma

While the exact origin of Roma is unknown, it is certain that this group of people arrived in Europe prior to the ninth century. Historically, many Roma were forced into slavery and sentenced to death throughout the medieval era for being “heathens.” They, alongside the Jews, were persecuted and forced into labor camps during World War II. Today, millions of Roma live in isolated slums without running water or electricity. There is a great health disparity among the population, but governments have kept them at the brink of death without offering help.


3. The Nubians

The Nubians, originally from Sudan, were brought to Kenya over 150 years ago when the British government asked them to fight in the colonial army; since then, they haven’t been able to return home. Today, Kenya will not grant Nubians basic citizenship rights so this group lives in one of the largest slums on Earth despite trying to receive title rights to land and seeking solutions to their disparity.


4. The Bidoon

In the state of Kuwait, the Bidoon is one of the stateless groups attempting to break free from the status of “illegal residents.” The Bidoon are descendants of the Bedouin people, a desert-dwelling Arabian ethnic group. They have tried and failed dozens of times to gain official recognition in Kuwait; instead of citizenship, they are told to seek residency elsewhere.


5. The Yao

The Yao is one of many Thailand hill tribes that don’t have a Thai citizenship. This means they can’t vote, buy land or seek legal employment. The Thai government has previously granted temporary citizenship to a select few, but this is after they go through a strenuous process to prove they should be granted a pass.

These five stateless groups — Rohingya, Roma, Nubians, Bidoon and Yao — are just a select few from an extensive list. In total, there are more than 10 million people that are denied a nationality; however, the UNHCR made an announcement that they hope to end statelessness by 2024. On their website, viewers can sign the #IBelong campaign in order to show support. If successful, this will not only grant millions of men, women and children a nationality, but it will also grant increased access to clean food and water, healthcare, jobs, education and so much more.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Syrian Refugee Health CrisisBeginning in 2011, the Syrian Civil War has resulted in an influx of refugees, many of which fled to neighboring countries. Five million Syrians fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and European countries. Approximately six and a half million remain internally displaced within Syria. As a result of war and civilian displacement, medical attention and healthcare have started to decline.

Prior to the civil war, Syria had a stable middle class and a relatively high socioeconomic status. Usually, countries of middle-class status tend to face a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Unfortunately, due to the war, relocation, crowding and poor sanitation, many of these illnesses remain untreated in Syria.

Syrian Refugee Health Crisis: Left Untreated

Ninety percent of Syrians are affected by non-communicable diseases. Many diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer are left unaddressed. This is the core of the Syrian refugee health crisis.

In order to access healthcare in host countries, refugees are required to obtain an identification card. Problems arise due to the inability of refugees to acquire the proper documentation. This is mainly due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Nonetheless, over 500,000 refugees have found asylum in Jordan and a majority has gained the proper documentation for accessing medical treatment. Currently, 145,000 refugees remain without documents in Jordan.

Organizations Working to Address Healthcare Access

Primary care varies greatly based on the administering country and whether or not the patient lives in a camp or settlement. However, organizations are working to supply sufficient medical care for chronic and communicable diseases.

Syrians have received immunizations from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) upon arrival at settlements and camps. Part of the Vaccination Program for the U.S.-bound Refugees is administering select vaccines.

The World Health Organization is also working through partnerships to address nutritional health and raise funds for projects and initiatives. It is also strengthening the disease surveillance system outside refugee camps.

The John Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response

The students and faculty of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed a symposium in 2015. Their work focuses on new research initiatives that propose solutions to the Syrian refugee health crisis.

The school’s Center for Refugee and Disaster Response is assessing Syrians’ basic needs regarding food, medicine and daily living items to provide data for assistance programs. This program also looks into the effectiveness of cash-based food programs for families suffering from non-communicable diseases.

By assessing the needs of Syrian refugees, government entities and other foundations can better manage the healthcare of people in need. Policies and donations can help address the needs of people seeking asylum to better solve the Syrian refugee health crisis.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr