Tag Archives: refugees

Finland Fails Educated Immigrants

Finland has welcomed immigrants from many parts of the world and offered them opportunities to partake of a wonderful education system, but there is increasing evidence beneath the veneer of open arms lies still lingering bigotry. Abdoulmajid Hakki is proud his adopted land gave him a world class education, but it required over 500 applications before he could secure employment. “Society here seems to devote far too much of its resources to educating foreigners and far too little to employing them.” There is something perversely stupid in providing excellent education to a newcomer and then displaying bigotry by not hiring the individual.

Finland’s unemployment rate among minorities stands at over 20% which is the highest in any OECD nation. Most European nations are in desperate need of immigrants due to falling birth rates which leave too few hands to do too much work. It is time for Finland to open the doors of jobs as wide as it has opened its heart to refugees.

Road Less Traveled Back To Darfur

Mah amat Oumar is a refugee from Darfur who has found refuge in the Central African Republic. In May, 2007, Sudanese planes bombed his village and when people fled they bombed the roads on which they traveled. The janjaweed took all of his possessions and he finally arrived in the CAR where local people greeted them with good will and opportunities to make a living. His family resides in a camp which offers children an education and there is safety from constant attacks.

He was asked about returning to Darfur. “Go back to Darfur? Not even in my dreams.” He can recall his flock and garden before they were taken away. “But, I will not go back there while there is no security.” His comments can be repeated a thousand times and still be true.

Pakistanis Stuck In Camps Of No Return

The United States has been urging the Pakistan government to accelerate the war in tribal regions in order to crush the Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, lost in the turmoil caused by this increased fighting is the impact on people living in the region. It is estimated over 300,000 refugees are now living in camps because they fear returning to their homes. They have become refugees in their own nation who live in government organized camps or they beg aid from relatives. Most of the women in this group come from traditional orthodox backgrounds and now find themselves thrust into the modern world of cities and women who act in different ways.

As always in such military operations, things get out of hand due to fear or anxiety on the part of villagers. Most flee and thus villages are left vacant or left without key people who play important roles in the life of the village. Bombings from either side destroy homes or businesses and leave inhabitants without a way to exist.

Of course, none of the above figures into the planning of Pentagon leaders, they are interested in killing militants. The price may well be radicalizing a young generation who will grow up to become militants.

Palestinian Refugee Issue Remains Key To Peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters during a trip to Lebanon that all Palestinian refugees should eventually be allowed to return to Palestine. The highly contentious issue of refugees remains one of the most difficult to revolve between the parties seeking to achieve a compromise. “The refugees should have a right to return to their homeland,” said Abbas. He indicated this has been a sticking point in negotiations with Israel leaders because “we are not with permanent resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. We are against permanent resettlement.”

A sticky issue is the presence of Palestinians in Lebanon which has a tenuous balance of power between Muslims and Christians. The addition of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Palestinian refugees to the Lebanese population would benefit Muslim Lebanese political parties while hurting Christian ones. Thee are about 400,000 Palestinians and their descendants living in Lebanon.

The bottom line is no Arab nation wants Palestinians in “its territory” and just wants them sent back to Palestine. Palestinians are unwanted guests– no Arab nation is willing to grant them citizenship– living in a nation that simply wants them to leave.

Immigrant Issues In Hungary Symbolize New World

Among the most critical issues confronting industrial and post industrial societies is their need for immigrants to handle the dirty jobs of life, but the ongoing prejudice of populations against foreigners. Several days ago, refugees at the Bicske integration center in Hungary, held a demonstration before the UN’s refugee office in Budapest to protest against conditions in the camp. Most of the refugees are asylum seekers and those seeking a new life in Europe. Part of the problem of refugee centers is bringing together people from diverse backgrounds who share nothing in common other than desiring a job in a European country. Last week fighting broke out over, ironically, the issue of access to Internet. Over a dozen people were injured in the fighting.

As refugees enter European nations, the cost of their maintenance is not always welcomed. Social workers and psychologists have to be hired in addition to medical staff so when government feel the need to reduce costs, a refugee center invariably is among their initial targets. UN officials believe the Hungarian situation is all too common– asylum seekers lack access to quality medical care, they are unable to work to provide for some necessities of life or even have enough money to travel around seeking work. Food may be nutritional, but it usually is not the food they are accustomed to back in their homelands. The UN also believes language issues and communication invariably become problems between refugees and host nations.

Perhaps, it is time to examine the issue of the 200,000,000 refugees who currently are working in nations other than their own on a much broader scale and identify key issues that must be addressed by host nations.

Millions Of Afghans Living In Iran

A recurrent theme of the Bush administration on how Iran has supported terrorism and is a hindrance in the fight to create a democratic Afghanistan. It has been well documented that during the American invasion of Afghanistan assistance was provided by Iranian intelligence sources since Iran has long detested the Taliban. Seyed Taqui Qaemi, head of the Iranian Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants, estimates up to 12.5% of the Afghanistan population is now residing in Iran. His figures indicate their are now 2,000,640 Afghan refugees current in his country and they are being provided health, cultural, educational and social services. His office has also help provide literacy education to some 602,000 Afghans. He offered figures that 12,000 Afghans have graduated from Iranian universities and there are currently 3,700 Afghans attending college in Iran.

These figures suggest it would be in the best interest for Iran to have a stable Afghanistan which can provide employment and education for refugees now scattered in Iran and other nations of Asia. The Iranian government is also compelled to focus large resources to deal with the extensive trade in drugs coming from Afghanistan which has resulted in thousands of Iranian drug addicts. It is unfortunate the Bush administration is blind to the joint interests of the United States and Iran in working to end violence in Afghanistan.

Trouble At South African Refugee Camps

During the past three months after xenophobic mobs rampaged through the streets of Johannesburg, thousands of people who fled their homeland in search of peace have been forced to live in refugee camps established by the South African government. Yesterday, at one such camp, four men leapt over the fence and created havoc as refugees attacked them in fear they represented a new outbreak of violence. There are now 34 shelters housing about 32,000 people who had their homes destroyed by mobs, and their possessions stolen without any effort on the part of the South African government to offer compensation for their losses. They are sitting in a refugee camp without work and without hope for the future.

Sighet Mashego, who is working on the refugee situation noted: “Reintegration is not something we can do for an individual, it’s a process that has to be dealt with by leaders both of the refugee community and the community who these people were displaced and we are still working on it.” This attitude makes no sense. People were forcibly attacked by mobs and forced to flee for their lives. It is not their responsibility to build relations with those who stole from them, that is the responsibility of the South African government.

Most of the refugees feel abandoned. As Bosco Mugisha who fled the Sudan put it, “kill us all and they should bury us here.” Such is the fatalism of people abandoned by the South African leadership.

Eritrean Refugees Being Deported From Egypt

The plight of refugees from Eritrea continues to create issues in Egypt and Israel who are facing the prospect that thousands of these people are fleeing their native land. There are reports Eritrea is getting ready to resume its conflict with Ethiopia and is now forcibly recruiting thousands of new soldiers from its country. This has caused thousands of Eritrean to seek refuge in nations which can offer a respite from the violence and brutality that is so common in their native land. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees(UNHCR) complains these refugees should not have been deported back home but “should have been deported to, and resettled in, a third country.”

A major issue regarding the Eritrean refugees is that many are using Egypt as a transit area in order to reach Israel where they hope to find refuge. But, Israel does not seek any more Eritreans even as many are being used to replace Palestinian workers. The recent rampage by a bulldozer driver only accentuates efforts in Israel to rely on foreign workers and thus eliminate the possibility a Palestinian will turn out to be associated with terrorist organizations. However, as Israel accepts some it only makes itself a target for thousands to head north in search of peace and security.

Israel Claims Progress In Negotiations With Abbas

The London based Arabic newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, claims Prime Minister Olmert is reporting significant progress has been made between President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on issues related to the return of refugees, border and security concerns. Olmert has made clear the topic of Jerusalem will be left to the end of negotiations because its future is a “volatile” one. Likud leader, Benyamin Netanyahu, told visiting French President Sarkozy that under no conditions will Jerusalem be divided in any final peace settlement.

Olmert said it was unlikely Israel would hammer out an agreement with Syria which results in opening embassies in both nations while Syria continues having close relations with Iran. He also insisted his nation could not tolerate a nuclear armed Iran and would take steps to prevent this from happening.

Palestinian leaders will undoubtedly insist east Jerusalem be the capital of an independent Palestinian nation. There are many ways to ensure the right for people of all faiths to enjoy access to religious sites while allowing Palestinians the right of making Jerusalem their capital. Olmert’s comments concerning Iran can only be addressed when major powers sit down with Iran for an all-encompassing resolution of issues. A new American president is needed for that to happen.

Egypt Deports Eritreans To Life Of Torture

The world wide migration of people seeking to escape poverty and brutality has created new issues for Egypt and Israel. Thousands of refugees from Somalia or Eritrea are leaving their homelands and seeking work in Israel. The current Israel-Palestinian conflict has created opportunities for foreigners to fill jobs once handled by Palestinians. The government of Egypt is taking a strong stand against Eritrean refugees and yesterday flew at least 200 back to the horror of Eritrea. The UNHCR which works with refugees has been prevented by the Egyptians from communicating with the refugees. It is now expected that about 1500 additional Eritreans will be deported back home. As Amnesty International notes, “Most asylum seekers returned to Eritrea ware likely to be arbitrarily detained and incommunicado in inhumane conditions from weeks to years…they will be at serious risk of torture or ill treatment.” Many of the Eritreans begged the Egyptians not to return them to a horrible situation but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

A high percentage of the Eritreans are Pentacostal Christians who are fleeing from religious persecution. Most want to enter Israel where they hope to find work. So far this year, at least 13 have been killed by the Egyptian police as they tried to cross the border into Israel. It is another African human tragedy and no one will do anything to help these people.