Displacement by Chipo Vera
Who is a refugee?
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country due to a conflict or a credible fear of persecution based on reasons of race, religion, political opinion, membership of a social group in that country and is seeking refuge in another state.
Who is an asylum seeker?
An asylum-seeker is someone who applies for protection as a refugee in another country and his or her request for refugee status has not been assessed or is yet to be processed
What is the meaning of ‘internally displaced people’?
Internally displaced people are people seeking refuge from conflict or disasters but within the borders of their own country.
Millions of people are forced to leave their homes every year because of conflict, violence, human rights violations, persecution, and natural disasters. The number of forcibly displaced people continued to rise in 2018, calling for increased humanitarian assistance across the world. At the end of 2018, 70.8 million people were in need of protection and assistance as a consequence of forced displacement. This is the equivalent of a person becoming displaced every two seconds. Most refugees live in urban areas followed by those living in camps or rural areas. Those displaced inside their countries are often among the most vulnerable when a crisis erupts.
Both refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) often face protection challenges and lack of access to shelter, food, and other basic services. In urban areas in particular, both refugees and IDPs struggle with poverty, lack of psycho-social support and difficulties in normalising their legal status.
Displacement lasts 20 years on average for refugees and more than 10 years for 90 percent of IDPs.
Collective reports and literature has indicated that most refugees generally suffer from mental health issues including anxiety and depression and Post traumatic disorders .Previous studies have reported that displaced individuals suffer from high rates of mental health symptoms as compared to their non displaced counterparts.
Asylum seekers and refugees are more likely to experience poor mental health than the local population, including higher rates of depression, PTSD and other anxiety disorders.
The increased vulnerability to mental health problems that refugees and asylum seekers face is linked to pre-migration experiences (such as war trauma) and post-migration conditions (such as separation from family, difficulties with asylum procedures and poor housing).
Studies suggest that asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population and more than 61% will experience serious mental distress. However, data shows that they are less likely to receive support than the general population.