TEHRAN (FNA)- The flood of refugees trying to escape the atrocities of ISIL terrorists has doubled the displaced populations of Iraq and Syria in recent months.
This is while borders are deliberately closing, pushbacks are increasing, and hostility is rising. Like the rest of the world’s displaced populace, the Syrian and Iraqi refugees are all too often shunned, discriminated against or forgotten for political and geopolitical reasons. Simply put, the world has turned its back on them.
Even as this tragedy unfolds, some of the countries most able to help are shutting their gates to people seeking refuge. At the same time, humanitarian organizations like the UNHCR run on shoestring budgets, unable to meet the spiraling needs of such massive numbers of people.
According to the United Nations, more people fled last year than at any other time in records. Around the world, almost 60 million have been displaced by conflicts and persecution. Most refugees come from the Middle East, with over 2 million Iraqis and 7.6 million Syrians taking to the road within their own country.
These refugees are not gatecrashers, job seekers or terrorists. This is a dangerous course of action by some Western leaders and media, shortsighted, morally wrong, and in breach of international obligations.
These vulnerable souls have lost their homes and countries because of what some Western powers did and are still doing to Iraq and Syria under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Before the advance of ISIL – the West’s own creation – these people had everything and now they have lost everything.
In the words of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, it is time to accept the reality that the ebb and flow of human movement cannot be stopped. The world’s richer nations must shoulder collectively the burden of helping the victims of war or risk letting less wealthy nations become overwhelmed and unstable.
Lest we forget, displaced populations are themselves a source of future destabilization. Many Middle Eastern countries experienced instability resulting from Palestinians displaced after the Western-backed establishment of Israel in 1948 – the last refugee crisis of comparable proportions in the region.
Problems originating from the Palestinian refugee crisis continue today, and the wheels of a new refugee crisis have been set in motion with some 10 million Iraqis and Syrians displaced since 2003.
Regardless of political wrangling, it is imperative that civilians displaced by the ongoing conflicts are granted refuge in and safe passage through UN-controlled areas. The international community must act responsibly and work towards finding solutions to the current crises in Iraq and Syria. They must ensure that members of all communities are protected and their rights respected.