Note: Stories, facts, and information provided here are not meant as encouragements for writers to simply insert into their works. Additional research may be needed. They should only be used as inspiration and to help with understanding how cultures are put together. Please use this knowledge to inform your own culture creations without full appropriation. Find the rest of the series here.
Refugee includes any person who is outside their country of origin and unable or unwilling to return there or to avail themselves of its protection on account of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group, or political opinion. Crossing an international boundary is required.
Those who move internally become internally displaced peoples or displacees.
Asylum refers to protection granted by a nation to a person who cannot return to their home country for fear of prosecution. The person seeking asylum is an asylee.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR @ unhcr.org), established in 1950, works in 125 countries with approximately 34 million people. UNHCR is authorized to lead and coordinate international actions to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. The primary purposes of the UNHCR include:
- safeguarding rights and well-being of refugees
- ensuring the right to seek asylum and finding safe refuge in another country, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally, or to resettle in a third country
- also mandated to help stateless people—those without citizenship or nationality
Refugee policies in the United States are handled by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The PRM works closely with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and with UNHCR. They support safe, orderly, and legal migration, with a focus on human rights of migrants, protection for asylum-seekers, and support for anti-trafficking efforts. They provide assistance to vulnerable migrants and encourage rapid, successful integration.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent and neutral organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, and was established in 1863. The ICRC works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence to promote laws that protect victims of war. They are active in at least 80 countries, and are financed by voluntary donations from governments and from national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.
There are huge problems with the way the US deals with refugees. Refugee policy operates on a principle of "calculated kindness." Unfortunately, kindness and hospitality toward refugees have been influenced by foreign policy concerns, domestic political battles, and a cultural logic that generally considers adaptation to be a matter of economic independence and self-sufficiency. The model of personhood adopted by the US resettlement system is inattentive to experiences, cultures, and capacities of incoming refugee groups. Contemporary US refugee resettlement policy defines adaptive success in terms that are different from those attributed to the notion by refugees themselves, and it practices often detract from its aims.
The US puts a major emphasis on rapid employment, however, without language skills and the guidance needed to secure well-paying jobs, rapidly employed refugees find themselves facing impossible odds to make ends meet. In many cases, individuals have to work two or more jobs, disrupting family ties that otherwise serve as sources of moral support in an alien environment. Chances of long-term success are greater with increased English language fluency (or fluency in the language the refugee is trying to integrate into). Policy should recognize that, though it is initially time-intensive, learning English should take precedence over rapid employment. The emphasis on rapid employment and the requirement to accept any job offer offer often means working long hours for low wages. This can have negative repercussions in terms of refugee families’ economic, physical, and emotional health and stability, as well as their ability to absorb the culture of their new environment. The emphasis on rapid employment can also lead to a disregard for the skills carried over from the country of origin. Without English skills and time to seek out opportunities and resources to acquire new credentials, capable doctors, engineers, and professors often have to accept low-level jobs that don’t acknowledge their past professional training and experience. Obviously this negatively impacts self-esteem and psychosocial adjustment.
Policy ought to recognize that there is more to serving refugees’ needs than issues of biological survival. Short-term solutions may not provide for long-term stability. Adaptation lies at the heart of the refugee resettlement process. Adopting the more anthropological emphasis on adaptation can help guide refugee resettlement policy toward recognizing that establishing new lives and identities in the US is as much a matter of maintaining one’s historical sense of self as it is one of adapting to psychosocial and economic challenges that lie ahead for the refugee. (and that’s about as political as i ever get)
The anthropologists decided that this tribe was to remain “uncontacted”.
This is one of the best things iv seen today