Around the world today, people are commemorating World Refugee Day as a time to honor the strength and the courage of those who have been forced to flee their countries because of persecution,natural disaster, conflict and violence. And there is MUCH to honor.
You see, many of the world's largest refugee camps are located in East Africa. In 2013, Kenya's Hagadera was ranked (1) as it hosted about 138,102 victims.The residents of this camp are primarily from Somalia. (Fun Fact: The Camp's population is comparable to the size of Pasadena, California!!!).
Today, Dadaab holds the title for 'World's Largest Refugee Camp'. It was created to help Somalis fleeing violence and famine in the early 1990s and holds close to 350,000 people. In April, the Kenyan government attempted to close the camp, but later backtracked after immense pressure from the international community.
This year alone, we have witnessed some of the most unimaginable crises and circumstances across the world. In Syria, over three million people fled to Turkey to escape war and in Burma, the Rohingya fled to escape acts of genocide. In many cases, individuals are left without basic humanitarian aid , already displaced families are forced to relocate and today, hundreds are cruelly stranded on boats across the Indian ocean.
World Refugee Day also reminds us of our failures as an international community.
Why do we remain silent on issues we CAN change? We know there are dozens of Indian escapees from Yemen clinging to rescue boats, millions of Somalis at risk of losing remittances, and thousands of Palestinians struggling to save their land. There is no doubt that World Refugee Day serves as a reminder to us all that with hostility comes hope.
As always, we want to thank our brothers and sisters for their exemplary bravery and magnanimity.