By Zhang Hong
June 20 marks the 22nd World Refugee Day, and the theme this year is Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety.
According to the 2021 Global Trends Report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on June 16, the number of people forcibly displaced by war, violence and persecution reached 89.3 million by the end of 2021 and 27.1 million are refugees.
Since the beginning of this year, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has triggered the fastest-spreading and largest forced displacement crisis since World War II. Violent incidents and protracted conflicts in Africa, Afghanistan and other places have also led to a sharp rise in the number of forced displacements. The number exceeded 100 million for the first time and children are the main victim group. According to the latest data from United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the number of children displaced by conflict, violence and other crises reached 36.5 million by the end of 2021, the highest since World War II.
The number of forcibly displaced people globally has increased nearly fivefold since 2001. Who is the biggest driver of this human tragedy? It is the US.
Statistics show that after the September 11 attacks, the US launched multiple wars in the name of anti-terrorism and caused a huge wave of refugees. The number of displaced persons was between 49 million and 60 million. The 20-year war in Afghanistan has turned 11 million Afghans into refugees and displaced 3.5 million Afghans. Nearly 23 million Afghans face extreme hunger including 3.2 million children under the age of five.
The world saw the largest increase in forcibly displaced persons between 2012 and 2015. Who is the biggest driver of this human tragedy? It is also the US.
At the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011, through armed intervention and building up opposition forces, the US stepped up the crisis and provided soil for the breeding of terrorism. Since then, the US has directly launched military operations to intervene in the situation in Syria, plundered Syria's oil and food resources for a long time, and increased sanctions at various levels to get Syria in trouble. According to the latest UNHCR statistics, Syria remains the world's largest source of the refugee population. More than 13 million people have fled from Syria or been homeless in Syria since 2011. 14.6 million people in Syria need humanitarian and other forms of assistance. In 2022, the number of refugees in need of resettlement in Syria is expected to account for 42 percent of the total global demand.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict leads to a new humanitarian catastrophe. Who is the biggest driver of this human tragedy? It is still the US.
Over the years, the US-led NATO has disregarded Russia's legitimate concerns about its security and has expanded eastward five times. The US has continued to fan the flames, deliberately intensified the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and caused serious humanitarian consequences. As of June 17, 7.1 million Ukrainians were displaced, and more than 4.65 million Ukrainians fled their home country.
Numerous facts have proved that the US is a refugee-making machine. From launching the Iraq War and the Afghan War to cultivating anti-government forces in many countries in West Asia and North Africa, and disrupting the regional situation, to military intervention in the Syrian war, long-term interference in Venezuela's internal affairs and continuous imposition of economic sanctions, the US has acted like a bully and left many messes around the world under the banner of "democracy" and "human rights". However, the people of related regions and countries must face displacement, poverty, backwardness, and an unknown future.
World Refugee Day only lasts one day in a year, but the hardship and helplessness of refugees occurs everyday. It is conceivable that the root cause of refugees will be difficult to eliminate as long as the US hegemony exists.
Editor's note: This article is originally published on haiwainet.cn, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.094.0503355.com.