What is a Refugee?
According to this website, a refugee is defined this way:
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
At the end of 2013, there were 16.7 million refugees worldwide. The main country with refugees in was Pakistan (1.6 million people). The country that the most refugees come from was Syria (3 million people). (Source: UNHCR report, accessed September 2015).
What are the refugee facts in the UK?
Of course, you may well know someone who is a refugee - they may be in your school or neighbourhood. If you don't already know them, why not say hi to them and even see if you can help them!
This is from the UNHCR website - the United Nations Refugee Agency. (Accessed, September 2015).
Germany was the largest recipient of new asylum claims in 2014. The United States of America was second with 121,200 asylum applications, followed by Turkey (87,800), Sweden (75,100), and Italy (63,700). By comparison, the UK received 31,300 new applications for asylum by the end of 2014. (Source: UNHCR 2014 Asylum Trends Report)
How many refugees are there in the UK?
At the end of 2014, the population of refugees, pending asylum cases and stateless persons made up just 0.24% of the population. That’s 117,161 refugees, 36,383 pending asylum cases and 16 stateless persons.
The vast majority of refugees stay in their region of displacement, so that 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. Turkey now hosts the highest number of refugees at 1.6million, followed by Pakistan at 1.5million (Source: UNHCR 2014 Global Trends Report)
Where do asylum seekers in the UK come from?
The top three countries of origin are: Eritrea (3,568), Pakistan (2,302), and Syria (2,204). (Source: Office for National Statistics Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, August 2015).
What does God think about refugees?
As a Christian, I believe and know that God cares passionately about the vulnerable. Throughout the Bible, God makes his heart of love clear for all people - but especially those who are down, those who are lost, those without hope, the widows, the orphans, the abandoned. Followers of Jesus believe that they have been adopted into God's family. In the same way, the heart of Christians is to care for the vulnerable. If you look around the world, you will find Christians at the forefront of helping those in need.
Psalm 10.17-18 - Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.
Why should we care about refugees?
Can you think of good reasons why we should care about refugees?
Here's a few good reasons to care about refugees...
1. They are people - just like you are.
2. Many people are escaping terrible situations that are dangerous and terrifying.
3. People should have the right to live in peace and without fear.
4. If we don't care for other people, what does that say about us?
5. Imagine the refugee was a member of your family who you love. How would you want them to be treated? Or have you ever been to a new school or new place and felt alone, or felt like you didn't know anyone? How would you want someone to treat you? The Bible tells us to treat others in the way we'd like to be treated.
6. If we don't help people, their situation will get worse. They may be killed or raped or even sold.
7. Not helping people makes things worse for everyone in the world and creates more problems.
How can we help? Some ideas
1. We can make people feel welcome by speaking to them, smiling, helping them, inviting them round for food etc.
2. We can support people with giving stuff they need - like clothes, food
3. We can support agencies and charities that work with refugees in Britain.
4. We can give money to agencies and charities working with refugees around the world. Just make sure you give money to a charity that uses your money well and makes sure the money gets to the right people on the ground.
What do actual refugees say themselves?
(Source: Refugee Action website, accessed September 2015).
Mohammed, who escaped from Eritrea - "I love the UK. I feel like a human here. I’m treated with dignity and respect regardless of my religion or race. I can speak without restrictions. I never knew what freedom meant before, but now I am free. Thank you for the safety, respect and values you share with refugees. Thank you for sharing with us your shelter, food, time, thoughts and smiles. For those who think negatively about refugees, we won’t blame you. It’s your right to argue against us, but just approach us, find out who we really are before you judge us.”
Video - the story of Dariush
Direct video link - https://youtu.be/yLFN9BQDa2c