World Refugee Day by Ritu Amit Mahajan
On the 4 December 2000, the United Nations announced that each year the 20 of June will be observed as the World Refugee Day not just to create awareness but to honour their struggles and resilience. Such occasions are an opportunity to help people understand, educate the world about the concerns of global importance, address them, take responsibility and to also appreciate the achievements.
Currently, our world is witness to the highest recorded displacement on people in history. A mammoth 70.8 million people were compelled to leave their homes by the end of 2018 due to war, armed conflict, political violence or related threats in their home countries.
Of this 30 million are refugees and half of this number are children aged below 18. A large number of refugees do not have access to their fundamental rights like access to education, healthcare, employment and other vital services.
Sadly, 20 people every minute are forced to flee their home country and if the statistics do not change, soon 1 in 100 will be a refugee.
Leaving their homes is not the end of the struggle but the beginning of the difficult journey of adapting to a new country and the various problems related to resettlement. Among various other consequences a refugee’s mental health is gravely impacted The trauma experienced in the past , the stress of the unsettled present and anxiety caused by the fear of unknown in the future is what the refugees and asylum seekers experience in their day to day life. Research shows the prevalence of mental health difficulties experienced by refugees, with 40% having anxiety, 44% depression and 36% PTSD
However, PTSD can be experienced for a long time if the resettlement does not happen smoothly and in a decent time frame. The loss of their loved ones, the displacement not just from their country but also from their culture and social fabric is a major cause of the emotional distress. Focusing on the strengths of people can be the path to recovery, decreasing the risk factors for adverse mental health and promoting well-being.
The world has a responsibility to be there with the refugees as they face a traumatic, dangerous and difficult phase of their lives. We need to come together to show compassion and empathy in honouring their determination to fight against the odds to keep themselves and their families safe. As in the recent years the focus of the entire world has been the ordeal faced by the refugees let us all make a conscious effort to contribute to the wellbeing of the refugees.
“HEAL THE WORLD TO MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE FOR YOU AND FOR ME AND THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE “