HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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A special part of the holidays is being home, being in a safe place with loved ones. We have the choice as to where we will spend our holidays.

But what about the 22.5 million refugees across the globe? They have no choice. Millions of people are leaving their homes because of war, armed conflict, violence and other factors that force them to leave. They cannot safely return to their homes and they are not safe on their journey to find safety.

Ninety percent of the world’s refugees are being hosted by only 10 countries, and many of these countries do not have adequate resources to keep refugees fed, housed or safe. Some refugees are surviving on less than 50 cents a days.

Where are the Syrians going? Twelve million Syrians have fled their homes in fear…half of them are children. More than 5 million of them are refugees. They are hosted in just five countries.

Turkey took in 3,106,932 Syrians. Lebanon took in 1,001,051 Syrians. Jordan took in 660,422 Syrian refugees. Iraq took in 244,605 Syrian refugees and Egypt took in 122,203 Syrians.

Where is the United States with Syrian refugees? In 2016, the US took in 12,587 refugees. The refugee resettlement process is lengthy, extremely detailed and very safe. Only those Syrian refugees registered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and identified as being particularly at risk will be considered for U.S. resettlement.

Refugees are not allowed to travel to the U.S. until all security screenings have been successfully completed. Syrians go through more security screenings than other refugees.

While countries retain their right to police their borders, they also have the duty to protect the rights of others. They have the legal and moral obligation to take in refugees when they have the means and capacity to do so. Individual states in the United States cannot “opt out” of the international human rights commitments and obligations entered into by the United States.

In this holiday season, remember those without homes. Take a stand. Study the issues. For more information, visit Amnesty International.