In a refugee camp, it can feel like there's nowhere to turn.
In 2018, 25 people were displaced every minute. The global population of refugees and displaced people has nearly doubled in the last decade, hitting 71 million (5 million more than the population of the UK.)
The Syrian civil war which erupted in 2011 has been the main driver of this dramatic influx of refugees to neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Other recent surges of people forced from their homes include the Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar at the end of 2017 and people fleeing the escalation of the war in Yemen. Longstanding crises persist; with increasing internal displacement in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan where refugee populations still lack a clear future, and Iraqi and Afghan refugee numbers remain high.
Meanwhile the effects of climate change are already being felt by the most vulnerable refugees and a main driver affecting refugee flows. Climate refugees in large numbers are likely to become an increasing feature of global migration issues.
Currently most refugees are trapped in limbo. Syrian refugees in Lebanon are emblematic of this situation. They cannot go back to a home where conflict continues to claim lives every day and their safety is not guaranteed. Staying where they are yields little hope for their livelihood and is increasingly becoming less sustainable. Moving forward is too often not an option; most European countries have admitted only token numbers of refugees and an estimated six people a day die in the Mediterranean.
While huge numbers of people have extended a helping hand to refugees, organised hostility is growing across the world, as the global north fails to play its part in creating workable and durable long-term solutions.
This situation affects us all and must be addressed urgently. Muslim Aid is now campaigning on refugee assistance and protection because it is a theme that affects our work across the world, and we have been on the ground watching the crisis evolve in scope and scale for many years.
We have produced a briefing on the crisis and our work which we have attached below and we will present at the Labour party conference this week in a fringe meeting alongside International Rescue Committee,
shadow development minister Alex Norris and Labour MP Tan Dhesi.
Muslim Aid provides emergency relief including food, urgent healthcare and shelter. We also work to restore dignity through providing immediate physical safety, sanitation and hygiene, food and water, and education. These are all essentials but they are not enough.
Independence and opportunity, and the ability to have a real say in the decisions being made for you is rarely easy in a refugee camp. Regardless, it is a goal worth striving for.
Long-term displacement without resettlement is by nature unsustainable, but life in such circumstances can still be about more than just survival as refugees seek to find solutions to their dire circumstances. It is up to all of us to help alleviate this growing global crisis, together.