A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

UNHCR Sudan Filippo Grandi Soudan

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visits refugees from South Sudan at Al Nami East Darfur, Sudan. © UNHCR/Petterik Wiggers

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Damary S. Jaramillo, a 2nd year student of Medicine and Surgery Career in Universidad de Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador. Ms Jaramillo is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

According to Global Trends 2016, approximately 65.6 million people were displaced around the world because of human rights violations, armed conflict, persecution, and others. Of these, 55% came from Syrian Arab Republic, Afghanistan, South Sudan; being 51% children under the age of 18, and mostly unaccompanied or separated of their families. (1) In front of this, be refugee, stateless, asylum-seeker or displaced person has been a source of wealth for some people, this by sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, forced begging, and so on.

Also, a cause for fierce and ongoing social struggle in front of breakdown of the mother culture and the invasion of private places. It should be noted that, all of that has resulted in the voluntary repatriation of refugees and severe mental health problems, as for example: anxiety, panic attack, stress and depression. (2) In this way, what is the roll that nations should take against of the crisis refugee? And as citizens of the world, what can we do about the continuing violation of refugee rights?

Without exception, the entire refugee set out their lives for crossing land and sea in search of security and protection in any territory aside from its own, this more than few times. The asylum alternatives tend to be in developing countries that, despite their exuberant population and limited resources have opened their doors to million people; clear examples are Turkey, Sub Saharan Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

However, larger and more powerful nations do not have the same figures, and the problem amounted to an injustice and unaccountability on the part of the latter. To this, a more viable solution would be to redeploy the refugee burden in the nations of the world, that, in dependence of their population and the gross domestic product; as Canada, Germany, Austria, Netherlands did five years ago. Since, only thus will it be possible to meet the needs of the refugee and balance the problem. (3)

The Geneva Convention in 1951 established refugees have the right to “…gainful employment, decent housing, free and public education, medical assistance, and freedom of religion” like any other citizen in the country. (4) But even so, all do not enjoy the same rights and their wishes of self-improvement have been subordinated to camps, on the streets and some bits of cardboard.

Perhaps they are afraid to face war or xenophobes’ mock. As citizen of the world, we have an obligation to contribute to this cause starting from organize to remedy this situation though the recruitment violations of refugee human rights, awareness of the population about the traumatic experiences of refugees and how important is to involve them on the national environment by testimonies, and statistics. Finally, to boost the social partnership though aid programmes. (5)

Unless we act now, great problems like hunger, poverty, illiteracy and violence will increase and in future, we could not take the control of all these.


  1. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Global Trends, forced displacement in 2016. Geneva: UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency; 2017.
  2. Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center. Mental Health [Internet]. [Cited 18 January 2018]. Available from: http://refugeehealthta.org/physical-mental-health/mental-health/
  3. Amnesty International. Tackling the Global Refugee Crisis from shirking to sharing responsibility. London: Amnesty International Ltd.; 2016.
  4. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. ¿Cuáles son los derechos de los refugiados en el mundo? Madrid: UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency Spanish Committee; 2016.
  5. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The State of the World’s Refugees in Search of Solidarity. Geneva: UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency; 2012.

About the author

Ms Damary S. Jaramillo is a student of 2nd year of Medicine and Surgery Career in Universidad de Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador. Active member of Asociación de Estudiantes de Medicina para Proyectos e Intercambios de la Universidad de Cuenca (AEMPPI – UCuenca part of AEMPPI – Ecuador)






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