‘Time for Change’ on Refugees

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A Syrian refugee girl sits in a classroom at a Lebanese public school where only Syrian students attend classes. Education for refugee children is a pressing global issue that needs long-term solutions. United Nations conventions have fallen short of meeting the needs of displaced populations, even the most vulnerable ones. AP/Hussein Malla, File

A Syrian refugee girl sits in a classroom at a Lebanese public school where only Syrian students attend classes. Education for refugee children is a pressing global issue that needs long-term solutions. United Nations conventions have fallen short of meeting the needs of displaced populations, even the most vulnerable ones. AP/Hussein Malla, File

The world faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. On the 65th anniversary of the United Nations refugee convention being adopted, there are now 65 million displaced people globally, the highest number since World War II. Around one-third of that number are refugees; at least half of those are children. Yet the only attempt to find an international solution to this most urgent of problems is now being gutted and delayed.

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On 60th Anniversary of Refugee Convention States Failing Refugees

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”They stripped me naked and assaulted me. I begged them to kill me. Instead, they cut off my hands with machetes.”
– Amnesty International Interview, Sierra Leone, 1996

libya refugees

The Dhehiba camp in Tunisia © AI

After World War II and the systematic murder of millions of Jews, Roma, LGBT and many others, nations and individuals recognized the need for safe refuge from persecution and genocide.

After years of discussion and negotiation, the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the UN Refugee Convention) and later the 1967 Protocol emerged and provided a framework for protection. Most importantly, it established that no one could be returned to a country in which her/his life or freedom would be at risk.

It also placed obligations on signatories requiring they share responsibility when people flee across borders, and provide those seeking refuge with access to housing, health care and livelihood.

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