This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, June 24, 2011

Refugees Are Created in and Housed by Developing Countries

This past Monday was World Refugee Day and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva used the occasion to remind the world of the continuing problem of refugees in the world. As Europe, for example, worries about the arrival of refugees from Tunisia and Libya, the UNHCR was pointing out that of the world's 15.4 million refugees (not counting the 27.5 internally displaced persons), 80 percent are hosted in poor countries and more than a quarter of those are in just three countries: Pakistan, Iran and Syria.

Palestinians make up one-third of the world's refugee population - a total of almost 5 million people - many of whom have lived in neighboring countries all their lives.
Afghans, meanwhile, constitute a fifth of the refugee total, having fled successive wars since the 1979 Soviet invasion. Many live in dire conditions in Pakistan and Iran.
Other major sources of refugees are Iraq, with almost 1.7 million, Somalia, with 770,000, and Congo, with 477,000.
If you think about this list, you will quickly realize that the intervention of Europeans and North Americans in developing countries has been instrumental in creating this huge pool of refugees, but for the most part the richer countries have not borne the brunt of the problems.
Fears about supposed floods of refugees in industrialized countries are being vastly overblown or mistakenly conflated with issues of migration," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said. "Meanwhile, it's poorer countries that are left having to pick up the burden."

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