Do you pay much attention to the news? Whether you read a newspaper, watch a news program on television, or read the news on the Internet, it's important to keep up with what's going on in the world around you.
Although good things do happen every day, the sad reality is that bad things happen, too. In places around the world ravaged by terrorism and war, simply staying alive on a daily basis is the only good news many people can look forward to.
For many people in such countries, the only reasonable solution to make their lives better is to leave. Can you imagine things getting so bad where you live that you would flee your home, leaving almost everything you have and many of your family and friends, to seek a better life in another country? That's the sad truth for millions of people who become refugees.
War isn't the only cause of refugees, though. Refugees are people forced to flee to another country because of war, violence, or a legitimate fear of persecution based upon nationality, religion, race, political opinion, or membership in a particular group.
Ethnic, tribal, and religious disputes that lead to violence or war are some of the primary causes of refugees around the world. People who become refugees are often forced to flee with little warning. Sometimes they barely have time to pack more than a few clothes and belongings.
The trip to a foreign country can be grueling. Sometimes people who flee only move to another, safer place within their home country. When they don't cross an international border, they're known as internally displaced persons rather than refugees.
Being forced to leave your home under terrible circumstances is something no one should have to face. For refugees, the struggle often doesn't end when they make it to a different country. The country they flee to might not want them or be in a position to offer them much help.
Many countries voluntarily accept a certain number of refugees every year. The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (sometimes called the Geneva Convention) defined a basic set of legal protections, social rights, and living assistance for refugees.This set was amended in 1967. Countries voluntarily agree to the terms outlined and provide these basic services.
Today, some researchers estimate that there are more than 60 million forcibly displaced people around the world. Sadly, about 50% of those people are children under the age of 18. Over half of those displaced populations were forced to flee conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
Most refugees eventually return to their home countries when the conditions that forced them to flee have changed. Sometimes people are never able to return to their home countries, so they're forced to seek resettlement in a new country.