The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released an annual report last week revealing that the year 2014 broke a record for the number of forcibly displaced persons around the world, with an all-time high of nearly 60 million either externally or internally displaced people due to conflict, violence and human rights violations. According to the report, one in every 122 people is either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum and 42,500 people were displaced every day in 2014 on average. Over half of the displaced people are children, and the overall numbers are increasing rapidly. Syria is the largest source of refugees, although far from the only one. One out of every four refugees comes from Syria, with 7.6 million Syrians displaced within their country and 3.88 million having fled Syria.
Turkey has become a shelter to the world's single largest refugee population of 1.59 million last year, with the crisis in Syria continuing. Visiting the refugee camps in Midyat in the province of Mardin with U.N. goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie, UNHCR Antonio Guterres said on Saturday: "Turkey is today the largest refugee hosting country in the world and has a very generous policy by opening borders and providing assistance and protection." As you know, Turkey has been harshly criticized for its open-door policy by countries in the West and has assisted refugees seeking shelter in Turkey with very little international support. Government figures show that the country has spent more than $6 billion so far on refugees, while the international community's help has amounted to only $300 million.
Albert Einstein was a refugee and the U.S. was founded by immigrants. But the lack of action or desire to help from Western countries, which include the world's richest governments, makes us think that the free-market economies embrace free circulation of all merchandise except people. "Our world has never been richer or healthier or more advanced. Yet never before have so many people been dispossessed and stripped of their basic human rights," Jolie said in Midyat. "This is a central problem. We cannot pick and choose which human rights violations we will and won't tolerate," she added. But it looks like rich countries are largely free of these concerns. The U.S., for example, a world giant, has taken in 267,000 refugees, less than one-fifth of Turkey's refugee population. The U.S. and other developed countries should be taking the lead in solving the issue of providing rooms for refugees and sharing the burden equally. However, while they are even reluctant to help by providing food and tents, there is not much hope.Unfortunately, there is another sickness in the West, and it is spreading. If even a boat of immigrants swells the society's xenophobic reactions, what would an influx of refugees do to the industrialized countries? Could the societies in Europe deal with the number of refugees Turkey is hosting without any social blow?
Today, it is clear that the international system is not working. Millions of people and their right to a better future are ignored, they are harassed, insulted and demonized, as if being displaced due to wars, persecution and conflicts are not enough. This will haunt the world for decades.