Where do Cville Refugees Come From?

Myanmar refugee Thailand UN photo
from UNHCR website

Tonight, Friday, June 20th at 8pm Big Blue Door presents our first-ever Benefit for the International Rescue Committee at Cville Coffee. The show will include short segments of interviews with refugees living in the Cville area. Here’s some background info on the some of the situations alluded to in the interviews. We should have full transcripts of the interviews up by Monday or so.

Refugees are people who have fled their home countries because of persecution on account of religion, ethnicity, political beliefs, or social group. Their situations vary a lot, but a common pattern is that after fleeing their homes they cross a border into a neighboring county where they are often placed in camps. Some are eventually able to return to their home countries, some become citizens of the countries where their camps are located, many live out their lives in the camps, and a small number are allowed to resettle in a third country (such as the U.S.). Countries of origin for many of Charlottesville’s refugees include Burma (Myamar), Somalia, Bhutan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Today there are nearly 82,000 registered refugees and some 13,000 asylum seekers in Thailand (as of June 2013). Most are ethnic minorities from Myanmar (Burma), mainly Karen and Karenni, who live in nine camps in four provinces along the Thai-Myanmar border. Refugees have been fleeing conflict and crossing Myanmar’s eastern border jungles for the safety of Thailand for nearly 30 years.

(Source: UN Refugee Agency/Thailand website.)

The three largest [refugee] populations in Kenya are from: South-Central Somalian (Alinjugur and Dadaab) due to insecurity and famine; South Sudanese due to inter-ethnic conflict and violence, especially in the Jonglei state (Kakuma); and Ethiopians as a result of human rights violations and conflict (Kakuma).

(Source: UNHCR website)

Tens of thousands of ethnic-Nepali Bhutanese were displaced in the 1990s after Bhutan’s government launched a “one nation-one people” policy, which many described as ethnic cleansing. For the two decades that followed, about 105,000 people lived in the refugee camps in eastern Nepal.

(Source: Al Jazeera)

More than a decade after the invasion, there are more than 1 million Iraqis who have little hope of returning to their homes due to ongoing violence. Tens of thousands of others are in danger because they worked for the U.S. military.

(Source: IRC website)

Afghanistan’s challenges are enormous. Its people have endured three decades of wide-scale conflict, and at the same time have suffered from frequent natural calamities such as droughts, floods and earthquakes.

(Source: IRC website)




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