World Refugee Day – COOPI SUISSE raises awareness
World Refugee Day, an event of extreme social relevance, takes place on the 20th of June. Unfortunately, international media is dominated by wide gaps in accurate and verified information: often data is manipulated based on the channel used and due to common representations. In this matter, what is actually reality? COOPI Suisse tries to spread this information in the most authentic way possible.
Refugees, asylum seekers, humanitarian protection, political asylum… The vocabulary that revolves around the concept of migration varies. On occasion of the World Refugee Day, we include a definition of the term:
- “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it..”
Article 1 of the Geneva Convention of 1951 on the Status of Refugees
There are 65.3 million individuals forced to flee from their country; among them, 21.3 million are refugees. Europe feels overwhelmed by a wave, but actual data denies the common thought. As reported by the video of the UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Turkey is the country that provided protection to the highest number of refugees, reaching 2.773.800 people. Countries that follow are Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran and Ethiopia. How many refugees are in Europe? Two million and 100 thousand. And what about the Swiss situation? In 2016, only 27,207 asylum applications were submitted. Definitely a ridiculous figure when put in the global context.
Many of the refugees come from countries affected by long-term, bloody wars; we’re talking about Syria, Somalia, but also about the countries around the lake Chad basin – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Here, COOPI has been active with a large number of projects (26 in total) for the protection of 17 million people affected by the ongoing conflicts. The small informal school set up by co-workers in Melea, a welcome site for refugees and homeless in the lake Chad region, the refugee camp of Sayam Forage, Diffa (Niger) and the center of Ngalda, are only a few of the many initiatives promoted by COOPI in this region. But the Foundation’s commitment does not end here: in December 2016, Headquarters in Syria were opened, concerning a Food Support Project in response to the Syrian crisis in the metropolitan area of Damascus. This was done in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), and thanks to the funding of the Italian Agency of Cooperation and Development. After facing the emergency of Syrian refugees in Lebanon for three years, COOPI is preparing itself to become an active part of the humanitarian response in Syria itself today.
Always on the rise, always at the forefront of issues facing refugees, the organization plays a crucial role within the international scenario.