Putting together a radio show on refugees, I dug into the UNHCR statistics and compiled a list of the top 10 nations producing refugees, displaced persons, and the like. The numbers are staggering. And some of the Top 10 are surprising.
You might expect a number of African nations on the list, and there they are making up half of the ten -- Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Burundi. But two of the top three are the countries the USA is currently "liberating" from, uh, something. Apparently the residents of Afghanistan and Iraq haven't got the upbeat message that the White House is beaming towards its own citizens.
Then there's Colombia (shouldn't Plan Colombia be helping?), and Azerbaijan (whose president was warmly welcomed at the White House in April), and right in Europe, Serbia & Montenegro. Here's the list.
Some 70,000 refugees will find their way to the USA in 2007, according to the White House. Sounds big-hearted until you consider that US policies around the planet seem to be displacing more people than they re-settle. Heavy sigh.
Country # of persons
Serbia & Montenegro 547683
DR Congo 525637
Top 10 Origins of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees, stateless persons, and others of concern to UNHCR, mid 2005
- Listen to last week's Spin The Globe, featuring music from these nations - playlist.
- or to Afghani Wahid Qasimi's "Zindagee" (many more such mp3 downloads at afghansite.com)
- Watch a video by the Refugee All Stars of Sierra Leone (coming next week to Seattle).
- Catch a free screening of Iraq For Sale: the War Profiteers Nov. 5 in Olympia or elsewhere - schedule - trailer