The International Day of the Refugee
Yesterday, June 20, was World Refugee Day. It marked the day set aside by the United Nations to honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children, who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
It is a shame that man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains. It is the visit of violence or the threat of it against their persons that force human beings to flee from their natural habitat and become refugees in other lands.
In the estimation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, one person forced to flee is one too many. Unfortunately, statistics on refugee movements indicate that far from abating, situations that force people to flee their natural homes are on the rise.
Statistics on refugee movements indicate that in the past one year, 4.3 million people have become displaced. We are told that 2.7 million refugees from Afghanistan are scattered all over the world. In Somalia, there has been no central authority since 1991, when ex-President Siad Barre was overthrown. Without a government all these years, Somalia has become an enclave for gunmen who control pockets of territories, and are harassing poor women, men and children, compelling them to flee in search of safe havens.
In his message to the world in commemoration of the World Refugee Day, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Kil-Moon stated: “We must work together to mobilise the political will and leadership to prevent and end the conflicts that trigger refugee flows. Despite budget constraints everywhere, we must not turn away from those in need. Refugees leave, because they have no choice. We must choose to help,” stated the Secretary-General.
The Chronicle shares in the sentiment expressed by the Secretary-General. Being forced to flee one’s habitat could be traumatic. For many refugees, the circumstance of their flight from home makes it impossible to take along the very basics with which to eke out any meaningful living.
In an effort to stem the tide of events leading to the flight of refugees, much attention should be turned on circumstances that make it impossible for human beings to live in their natural habitats.
It is not the very best that Africa, the poorest continent in the universe, has the largest concentration of refugees. Somalia, for instance, has become a scar on the conscience of Africa. That is why The Chronicle is recommending that in addition to caring for the many fleeing from conflict zones, attention is devoted to search for solutions to problems that make it impossible for people to live in their natural habitats.
The Somali situation has existed all this while, because of the lack of the political will to deal with it. We suggest a full scale invasion of Somalia by the international community, under the auspices of the United Nations, to flush out pockets of gunmen who have carved various portions of the country for themselves.
When the nations making up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decided it was time for Col. Muammar Ghadaffi of Libya to vacate the scene, NATO provided the bombers to soften the ground before local troops opposed to the slain dictator, moved in and finished the job.
We are of the view that the only means of flushing out the gunmen, whose activities give rise to the refugee syndrome involving Somalians, is to capture the country from the pockets of gunmen ruling their turfs. It would be an expensive venture. But from all indications, that is the only way forward!
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