World Refugee Day is Saturday, 20 June.
We say the same thing every year and it seems to get worse rather than better.
The ways that governments are treating refugees and people attempting to assist them are nothing short of scandalous, inhumane, and blasphemous against the tenets of all religions. Virtually all refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing torture, war, discrimination, disease, and poverty. They are seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Virtually all become assets to the regions to which they flee. They provide labor and expertise and become valuable members of their new societies. Thus, rather than killing them and injuring them in pushbacks, governments and other bodies should be opening borders rather than closing them and welcoming them and providing facilities for them to learn the languages and cultures of the regions to which they come.
In order for them to function well, their traumas – that is, those of the regions of origin, those of the journey, and those of the adaptation to the receiving region – must be dealt with adequately. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. We of the CWWPP have seen over the past 25 years – and one of us since 1988 – that people can be assisted to do this with one another through programs such as our Pragmatic Empowerment Training (PET), described on our website, www.cwwpp.org. This allows people to become “barefoot therapists”, also known as “peer supporters”. We have found that this creates capacity relatively quickly and overcomes at least some cultural issues. We welcome people contacting us about this.
Our knowledge is not just theoretical. One of us, Charles, comes from a refugee family and grew up with these issues. Also, as mentioned, we have been at this for more than 25 years.
Please, let us make the world a humane place and heal those with the trauma of flight and treat them as fellow human beings.
You can see a video of this statement on Vimeo or download the video below.