A rise in refugees, a need for solutions

The number of people fleeing violence keeps going up, forcing more attention on successful diplomacy, such as in Libya.

Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh at the second Libya summit in Berlin, June 23.

Last year, the number of people who fled violence and persecution worldwide rose for the ninth year in a row, reaching 1 in every 95 people. The swell of migrants is now pushing many countries to both tighten their borders and try to solve the crises creating refugees. Are any of these efforts working?

In the United States, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the southern border Friday, her first visit as the federal official now in charge of curbing an upsurge of migrants into the U.S. Her work to improve conditions for people in Central America could take years and more money from Congress to lift up the region.

In Africa, 16 countries decided Wednesday to send troops to Mozambique, a hot spot of terrorist attacks, in order to prevent a flood of refugees into neighboring nations. More than 800,000 people have already been displaced there.

In Southeast Asia, neighboring countries of Myanmar are trying to prevent an influx of refugees fleeing a domestic conflict between armed pro-democracy rebels and a military that took power five months ago. So far, they have failed to persuade the ruling junta to share power.

In Afghanistan, the coming withdrawal of U.S. forces has forced President Joe Biden to plan for the evacuation of 18,000 Afghans who have worked with American forces. He and other world leaders are also trying to bolster the elected government in Kabul to prevent an exodus of Afghans fleeing the expected expansion of Taliban rule.

Perhaps the best example of progress in solving a refugee-producing crisis is in Libya, which has been largely unstable since a 2011 uprising against dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

A Germany-led effort to end an internal conflict in the North African country – and stop it from being a transit point for migration to Europe – has showed good success since an October cease-fire. In February, a transitional government was set up to unite contending factions. At an international conference in Berlin on Wednesday, further progress was made in planning for the pullout of 20,000 foreign fighters backed by Russia and Turkey and for a crucial election in December.

The next step for Libya’s unity government is to agree on a constitutional framework for the elections. “Libya’s fresh political leadership and the country’s energetic but beleaguered civil society, can make a difference,” one U.S. official said after the conference.

On June 20, the world marked the 70th anniversary of an international treaty, signed by most countries, to prevent refugees from being forced back into a conflict zone. That treaty has largely worked. Now the world’s focus is on solving or preventing conflicts. Libya’s progress shows what can be done.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.