There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

UNHCR 2018 photo Rohingya

Rohingya women and children huddled on a fishing boat approach the beach at Dakhinpara, Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Adam Dean

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Lesley Roks, a 2nd year student of medicine who works as LVPI in IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar. Ms Rocks 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.

When looking for the word “to take refuge” in the dictionary, one finds “to retire to a safe place; look for refuge “and from that, as a Brazilian medical student, I come to question, what’s really the reason that leads to the persistence of the refugee crisis in the XXI century?

I consider the dichotomy involved since 1951, during the convention that regulated the Refugee Statute, especially when this isn’t limited to current statistics that make the United Nations (UN) name them “the greatest humanitarian crisis of the century “.

The historic congress brings to light the principle of non-refoulement, which treats the fact that no country should expel a refugee, and that it should be applied without discrimination, since an individual in such a condition leaves country based on fears of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality or political opinion, in situations in which it “can’t return.”

Undoubtedly, a word that most reflects this disrespect and this affront to Human Rights, possibly the least of the anguish and suffering that the refugees pass is: intolerance. This term’s materialized by physical or symbolic violence, motivated by hatred of the other. Loneliness is another very appropriate noun to be taken into account, since many of these people arrive at their destination without anyone in their family either because they have stayed on the road or because they haven’t resisted it.

In this way, a cholera situation is demonstrated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimate that 136 million people will depend on aid in 2018. This number depreciated, since OCHA doesn’t include people who flee from violence in Central America.

In addition, another point for this harsh reality acts as a “Deus Ex Machina”, which literally softens the pains of those who need them. It’s the feeling of solidarity and the will to fight for the dignity of all with unsurpassed strength: Doctors Without Borders, who’re capable of making my future profession even more altruistic and empathetic.

Speaking as a Brazilian student, everyone knows that my country is considered a place of great racial and cultural miscegenation, and that’s exactly what we need to see as a positive consequence of all those refugees who seek shelter in different countries. It’s necessary to leave xenophobia aside and realize how beautiful a multi-ethnic society’s and how it makes it increasingly resilient and receptive to the new.

Thus, the profound failure in the process of humanization can be perceived, culminating in the ignorance of a society that forgets its composition made by differences and diversities. After all, in rejecting a person, disrespect’s allowed with a natural right to every individual: life.

Only with the instruction and the perception that it’s necessary to understand the global political scenario and to solidarize with what’s allowed to each one, the world won’t have more stories as tragic as it has had in recent years, right?!

About the author

My name’s Lesley Roks. I’m a second year student of medicine and working as LVPI in IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar. Skills: responsibility, organization, pro activity, and good interpersonal relationships and group work, all developed and improved with the help of my local committee. I’m part of two academic leagues: pediatrics and infectology. I’ve been very active in college in relation to participation in campaigns, student events and scientific projects, especially when there’s the involvement of IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar, which I’ve participated since my first year and intend, in the next years, to grow even more with it to to act nationally.

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