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Exodus from war: Who leave and who stay behind?

Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images

Victims come and go. When you read stories like the one posted here from Foreign Policy, that describes Afghanistan refugees, and people fleeing from Pakistan’s tribal regions, you might wonder who are leaving and who are left behind? When people flee their homeland instead of fighting for it, what does that say about those running away?

Here are possibilities:

  • They are desperate
  • They have no other choice
  • They have some means to depart
  • They don’t care about their homeland
  • They care about their homeland, but lack the capacity to do anything about it
  • They never had affinity with any homeland

How should the world confront the situation? Here are some possibilities:

  • Accept the refugees for legal immigration to a new homeland
  • Warehouse the refugees until it safe to return them
  • Provide assistance in exchange for able bodied people to return to their homeland to either fight their way back or to be repatriated when conditions are safe

How does the world treat displaced persons?

A displaced person is one:

“who is forced to leave their home country because of war, persecution, or natural disaster; a refugee.”

Consider that developed countries are trying to manage their population size and quality. They do so by maintaining an optimal relationship between population characteristics and demographics to natural resources and economic capacity. The arbitrary influx of immigrants into a country is likely to undermine the host nation under many circumstances because capacity to absorb immigrants is not unlimited. Therefore, the ideal situation is to manage immigration with regard to limits. The ideal is to return immigrants for settlement in their home nation.

However, there is an enormous caveat. Many people throughout the globe are populations that are located in places that will not support their numbers. They are on an inevitable path to doom and disaster. When the rest of the world turns a blind eye to them, that is when those populations are ripe for exploitation. Terrorism may be born from such circumstances as well as exploitation of women and children.

“Afghanistan Contributes Highest Number of Refugees; Exodus From Pakistan's Tribal Region; Kidnapped Indians in Iraq Located

JUNE 20, 2014

Afghanistan major source of refugees, says U.N.

An annual report released by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, released on Friday (World Refugee Day) showed a jump of 6 million refugees from 2012 to 2013, with Afghanistan being the largest contributor to that total (Post). Afghanistan contributed a total of 2.6 million refugees in 2013 while Pakistan, Iran and Lebanon hosted more refugees than other countries. The total number of refugees in 2013 exceeded 50 million people -- a staggering number that hasn't been seen since the post-World War II era when half the globe was dislocated. "We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict," the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in the report.

Taliban attack home, kill child

A mortar shell fired by the Taliban struck a home in Nangarhar province on Friday, killing one child and wounding five other children (AP). All were members of the same family. Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said the motive for the attack was unclear, but that the Taliban often fire rockets and mortar shells toward villages for no apparent reason (Pajhwok).

In a separate incident, at least 10 civilians were injured in a missile attack on a home in southern Zabul province Thursday night. No group has claimed responsibility for that attack

Nearly 100,000 people have fled the tribal region in northwest Pakistan this week as the Pakistani military continues its offensive against militants in the region (AP). Arshad Khan, an official who runs the region's disaster management authority, said 63,000 people left before the operation was announced last Sunday. On June 18, authorities eased a "shoot on sight" curfew to give civilians a chance to flee the area before the troops began a ground operation (AFP).
Meanwhile, the Zarb-i-Azb operation continued on Friday: A senior security official told AFP that gunship helicopters targeted militant hideouts in the Kutabkhel area of Miramshah, killing up to 20 militants (AFP).”

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