The Challenges Faced by Refugees

Jordan Weiss '19, Staff Writer

Around 65.5 million refugees are fleeing war-ridden countries such as Sierra Leone, Syria, and Afghanistan. Refugees flee from their homes to escape rebel conflicts with their government and radical terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. 4 million refugees come from Syria alone, and at least 2 million of the Syrian refugees are children. Males make up the majority of the world-wide refugees, having dodged forced enlistment, drafting, and recruitment by government or terrorist groups. Women and children do not make up the majority of the refugee population due to the fact that many women are unable to leave the country due to limited women’s rights and their unwillingness to leave their children behind.

Although the threat of being arrested is ever present, refugees struggle with numerous other obstacles. Male refugees face the possibility of recruitment by radical groups and government platoons, while women suffer the risk of rape and kidnapping. Children are in constant danger of being sold, killed, or recruited by rebel and terrorist groups, where they would be trained as child soldiers. Refugees also struggle to support basic needs, such as food, clean water, hygiene, and shelter.

Perhaps the most impactful aspect of a refugee’s life is that once they leave their country, they not only lose their livelihoods, family, and home, they lose their identities. Once citizens of a community, refugees lose their individuality and blend in with the other faces under  one of three categories: Internally Displaced People (IDP’s), Refugees, and those ‘seeking asylum.’ No longer do these people have names or lives. The only moment in which a refugee might gain his/her identity is when they are arrested. Arrest, however, means being deported back to the very hell from which they managed to escape.

For refugees, loss is a constant burden they must carry, and death remains no more than a footstep behind.