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Refugee Week: Who is a Refugee?

There are over 70 million people in the world that have been forced to leave their homes. They may be internally displaced, seeking asylum or refugees in host countries.

Most of the world’s refugees are living in the Global South. The Palestinian refugee crisis is the longest running in the world and the Syrian Refugee Crisis has lasted for almost a decade and has led to over 5 million people becoming refugees and a humanitarian disaster.

Lebanon is host to approximately 400,000 Palestinian refugees and almost 1 million Syrian refugees, as well as others from Iraq and east Africa. There are also an estimated 1.4 million Syrian refugees in Jordan and over 2 million Palestine refugees (as registered with UNRWA). Although Lebanon and Jordan have provided them with refuge, there are many ways in which refugees are denied certain rights and are often not given the support they need due to a lack of funds, resources and services available. The needs are vast and what is available to address them is often not adequate, and that includes international assistance.

UK Care for Children works mostly with refugee families, and we have witnessed first hand the many difficulties and barriers they face to living like they deserve.

Discriminatory laws, funding issues and exploitation in the labour market are all common issues faced by refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Overcrowded and deprived refugees camps, as well as trauma from violence and displacement also physically and psychologically harm refugees.

We have met elders who have been made refugees twice over, fleeing Palestine and then Syria. We have met pregnant women who gave birth whilst fleeing from violence or whilst bombs were falling. Our children we support have experienced things no child should. Another new generation will be lost to violence and displacement if more is not done to protect them and ensure they are allowed a childhood and opportunities beyond just being ‘refugees’.

We have witnessed the ways in which refugees set up new lives, protect each other and try to find ways to survive. With your help we can provide families with much needed support, and do it whilst protecting their dignity and humanity.

Refugees are mothers, father and grandparents. They are sisters and aunts, uncles and brothers. They are teachers and nurses, street cleaners and taxi drivers. They are artists, sportspeople and craftspeople. We hope this week encourages you to seek out the stories of refugees from across the world and see beyond the numbers and headlines.

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