Home is where the heart is, and it is certainly of no individual’s desire to immigrate unless absolutely necessary.
The striking numbers of UNHCR claim, “An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.” Even worse, the UNHCR states that an individual is displaced every 2 seconds! A refugee is someone who seeks safety, now that might either be for occupational, educational, geographical, political, or racial reasons. BBC stated in an article that, “ According to figures kept since the 1951 Refugee Convention, its previous peak was in 1992, at 3.7 per 1,000 of the population. By 2018, the number had more than doubled to 9.3.” As this global trend increases, what are the precautions and rights to be considered in regards to refugees?
Let’s consider a case in New Zealand where a Palestian, Walid, fled for asylum.
According to RNZ, “Walid’s situation is not a one-off – figures released to Checkpoint under the Official Information Act show 80 asylum seekers have been imprisoned since 2014 – 16 just this year.” This refugee arrived into New Zealand airport with full honesty as he asked the immigration officer for an asylum status. Yet, without explanation the officer asked if he wanted to get sent to prison, which for Walid, was thought as a refugee camp. Spending six months in Mt. Eden Prison put Walid’s life at risk as he was kept alongside criminals of various status. Inmates even attacked Walid for his religious and racial reasons. Such rules need to be carefully considered and regulated as one seeking refugee status should not be put behind bars alongside a burglar or murderer.
Under the New Zealand Refugee Quota Programme, 35,000 refugees have resettled since World War II. Yet, and according to New Zealand’s immigration site, the refugees, “must be recognised as mandated refugees and referred to New Zealand by UNHCR according to prescribed resettlement guidelines.” If such instructions are to be followed the applicant receives immediate residency upon arrival. However, in accordance with an article published by Bloom, New Zealand’s obligations are inadequately met and ask for a policy reform.
Now let’s turn over to Greece where an influx of Syrian refugees, amongst many other nationalities, have been crossing over.
The horrific viral pictures of dead infants along beach shores were hard enough, but there has been a recent video footage of Hellenic coastal guards shooting an immigrant floatboat of Turks alongside the Bodrum coast. It doesn’t stop there as Red Revolution states, “A refugee child was allegedly killed on Monday when their boat capsized off the coast of Lesbos in a separate incident. Another Syrian refugee was reportedly killed by a rubber bullet whilst trying to cross the Greek border, which the Greek government has denied.” What needs to be considered is that violence and ill behavior is not the remedy for nations, such as Greece, that do not wish for further refugee arrivals. Not only are these behaviors contradictory to the governmental vows of acceptance but also to the refugee guidelines of the UNHCR.
So what can be considered from these tragic events?
Are these issues of immigration or human rights and who is responsible in making changes? A reform must certainly be made in regards to behavior and treatment towards incoming refugees that have not been coordinated with non-governmental organizations. Moreover, the human rights issues in regards to these ill treatments need to be strictly examined. It is absolutely not permissible for a coastguard to shoot a motorboat or floatboat as it transgresses his power. The imprisonment of innocent and peaceful asylum fellows should also be viewed as a violation of human rights. These case studies need to be put in line and carefully assessed.