The EastAfrican: The case for refugees as a resource, not a burden for hosts

As the adage goes: “A bundle of belongings isn’t the only thing a refugee brings to the country of asylum.”

The commemoration of World Refugee Day is an opportunity to reflect on the fate of those forced to flee their homes by war, conflict, violence and persecution, and to focus the world’s attention on humanity’s shared responsibility and obligation to refugees.

This year, displacement is at an all-time high worldwide. The number of displaced people worldwide stands at 68.5 million, over 50 per cent of them young people under the age of 18.

Today, one in every 113 people is either a refugee, internally displaced, or an asylum-seeker. War is displacing over 28,300 people daily.

Africa is caught in the vortex of this unprecedented global refugee crisis. Over 20 million people in Africa are of concern to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Sub-Saharan Africa hosts over 30 per cent of the world’s refugee population.

The East and Horn of Africa, a region historically associated with endemic instability with far-reaching security and humanitarian implications, has the lion’s share of Africa’s displaced population.

Somalia has one of the world’s largest and most protracted displacement crises.

The combination of wa long civil war, terrorism, drought and floods has displaced nearly three million people, two million of them internally and 900,000 as refugees within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) region and Yemen.

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