Staying Engaged on World Refugee Day

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A group of Syrian children at an informal settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. - JENNIFER HIJAZI
  • Jennifer Hijazi
  • A group of Syrian children at an informal settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

Although the forced migration crisis seems a world away on Mediterranean shores, our borderland home is just as crucial an area for refugee and migrant rights. Having seen just a piece of the international crisis in the Middle East this past month, it is apparent that the scope of this problem is constantly evolving and has many faces, many of which are slowly losing the eye of global concern. According to a representative from UNICEF in Beirut, 44,000 Syrian women give birth every year, steadily increasing the population of vulnerable youth that wander the streets and valleys of Lebanon, just a fraction of the 12.5 million Syrians now displaced from their homes.

On our own border, according to the Pew Research Center, apprehensions of unaccompanied minors and families shot up to 78 percent this year. Mirroring our own surge, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing into Europe reached 96,000 in 2015, a number that accounts for almost half of the total number of minors crossing since 2008.

Although arguably everyday should be a reminder of the many displaced lives in our international community, today, June 20, is World Refugee Day. As such, it is particularly important to remember our shared responsibility to remain committed to the struggles of forced migrants on our own border and beyond.

Today, pay a visit to Iskashitaa and learn about their volunteer opportunities, drop off clothes to the Islamic Center of Tucson, or call WorldCare about sustained donations. If anything, read a few more stories about the plights of refugees today. If enough concerned news consumers continue to keep the conversation going on the epidemic of displacement, then we might not need an international refugee day to remind us of the crises at our own backdoors.

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