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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Refugee health globally and domestically – the reality does not reflect the Harper government depiction.

Refugee number globally have driven to the highest levels in over a decade and up nearly five times in just two years, driven by conflicts in Syria, Congo, and Mali.   In total some 43 Million persons are displaced individuals roughly two-thirds of who are internally displaced within their own country.  The past year seen 1.1 Million new international refugees.  

Host countries who are generous enough to share land and resources to accommodate displaced persons are led by Pakistan, Ethiopia and Kenya.  Through relocation programs, of the 11 Million international refugees, nearly 80% become accommodated in developing countries and in this respect the shining light is the USA which accommodates nearly two-thirds of refuges citizenship. 

Most refugees however have spent several years in living in accommodation of squalor, overcrowding and with the most minimal of health services.  The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has developed a system for registration through placement that attempts to minimize health impacts and trauma.  

Yet, health statistics on those suffering the refugee process globally are hard to come across – there are many good examples of information from specific camps, but not aggregated. 

While the increasing numbers of refugees is a cause of concern, the work of UNHCR in keeping the issue relevant and on the agendas of countries globally deserves Nobel attention.  Read their annual report at UNHCR 2012 report   

Domestically, considerable attention has been given to the issue of the Canadian government reduction in health supports to refugees, many provinces or hospitals have quietly stepped in and assumed these costs.  The Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration blaming the very victims of this international process for their plight.    Macleans report on Jason Kenney.   Such  behaviour should be considered unethical and most Ministers would be asked to resign.  

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