While going to the restroom is a fleeting thought in the daily lives of citizens in urban spaces, as mundane as breathing or walking — for refugees, deciding to use a restroom can be a costly consideration and mean putting their safety at risk.
By Jasmine Moheb
For many of us living in the richest countries in the world, we do not experience the challenges of only having access to restrooms that are over capacity, lack proper safeguards such as doors and locks, and are exposed to outside dangers. However, this is a reality that is faced daily by communities that have been displaced from their homes and are facing uncertain living conditions. Refugees compose a substantial number of the 4.2 billion people in the world that do not have proper access to toilets, according to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Just one example from the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows that about 55 percent of the 7,217 refugees who arrived in Mulongwe since 2017 have constructed their own latrines due to insufficient facilities. Something that should be a basic necessity is severely limited among those who do not have permanent homes.
Continue reading “Under the International Radar: Refugees and Restrooms”
The cramped conditions in refugee camps. Image used under Creative Commons License
By Michael Murphy
The social impacts of COVID-19 on the global population have been well known since its declaration as a public health emergency. Each nation has been forced to negotiate its own priorities and plan accordingly, often creating a patchwork of different plans in different areas. While the citizens of each country have had varying degrees of difficulty adjusting to the new international situation, refugees have been ignored, sidelined, and immobilized.
Continue reading “The Precarity and Resilience of Refugees during COVID-19”
Photo by Alex Gunn showing graffiti art by refugees in the Zaatari Refugee Camp.
By Michael Murphy
In 2011, the Syrian Civil War placed refugees on the global stage. Amid al-Assad’s barrel bombs, The Syrian Refugee Crisis was born. Videos depicting thousands of people fleeing their homes filled the airwaves. It wasn’t the first case of forced displacement, but European countries reeled from the sudden surge of humanitarian need all the same, with each country giving a kneejerk reaction on how to handle the hundreds of thousands of newcomers fleeing violence. Meanwhile, millions fled to neighboring countries–Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan—each already struggling with the refugees of the wars in the previous century. Before long, attention turned to North Africa. Images of rubber boats filled to the brim with desperate souls being tossed on the waves of the Mediterranean became unavoidable. Finally, in 2015, the image of Alan Kurdi, a young boy whose body lay on the beach after having drowned on the journey from Turkey to Europe, drew virulent international outrage.
Continue reading “Refugee Lives: Trauma, Celebrations, and Limbo”