Refugees increase to 10,000,000
Iraq, Gaza and Sudan are responsible for the majority of the refugees, who are fleeing violence and persecution.
The main global treaty for the protection of refugees – the UN Convention – was signed in 1951. It defines who can qualify for refugee status and lays the foundation of the modern international legal system protecting people affected by persecution or conflict.
But with the number of asylum seekers on the rise the costs of running the system high, concerns are being raised about its validity.
“In France there is still a lot of unemployment, this means debt is high. There's increasing criminality and problems of integration of the new population coming to our country,” said Yves Threard, Deputy News Editor of Le Figaro newspaper.
But many refuges say they dream of going home, provided there is peace.
“What I need is peace and stability, I don't need food, I need peace and if there is not peace in Somalia I wouldn't want to go to Somalia,” stated Omar Jelle Maalim, Somali refugee.
One of the main reasons the numbers soared was the three major conflicts in Europe in the 1990s and the continuing war in Iraq and instability in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.
“The security situation in Iraq is miserable. Sunnis do not trust Shiites and Shiites do not trust Sunnis. One cannot escape. My family is threatened, my friend was killed, and my uncle was killed. I am forced to leave this country,” explained Doraid Salman, Iraqi citizen living in Syria.
In Sudan, violence in Darfur left around half a million dead, causing hundred of thousands to flee.
Somalia is also on the list after a civil war broke out again – at the end of 2006.
The Congo and Burundi have 400, 000 refugees each.
Several conflicts flared up after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But they are now under control not least due to Russia's efforts. Russian peacekeepers are deployed in Transdniester, Abkhazia and South Ossetia providing security for the people.
The Nagorno-Karabakh district conflict is currently on hold while diplomats in neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan search for political solutions.
With the exception of Transdnister, the problem of refugees has not been completely resolved.
Whatever the case it has gradually become evident that military solutions bring about a whole new range of problems and should be advised only after diplomacy has failed.