More than 60 million people around the world are currently displaced, a large majority of them fleeing conflict and natural disaster at home. More than 22 million are classified as refugees, people who have had to cross an international border to escape harrowing conditions at home.
The UNHCR manages more than 17 million refugees around the world. Many of them live in camps that were put in place to provide temporary refuge for the displaced. But camp inhabitants spend an average of 17 years living inside them.
“Welcome to Refugeestan” is a journey into the ambiguous world of UNHCR camps, places that are neither cities nor jails, not closed off but not open either. It explores why it’s so difficult for workers to run camps where thousands arrive daily, and also why it’s so hard for refugees to leave them, despite the trials of staying.
Whether in Kenya, Tanzania, Jordan or on the border of Greece, “Welcome to Refugeestan” shows what life is like inside the places nobody chooses to live. And whether it’s through the struggles of refugees or aid workers, it exposes what life is like in placed that are supposed to feel like home, but can end up feeling like prison.
Full video for this feature will be available after 7pm EST, Friday October 27
BIG STORY: Welcome to Refugeestan
BEHIND THE SCENES AT REFUGEE CAMPS:
Modular tin homes make up a virtual city in Azraq, Jordan.
Iris scanning biometrics allow refugees in camps to safely retrieve cash disbursements from automatic tellers.
Refugees at Idomeni camp, on the Greek-Macedonian border, receive food rations from aid workers.
In Dadaab, the world’s largest camp, schoolchildren perform a dance for a visiting Swedish dignitary.
UNHCR: “Who We Are”
READ: The 1951 Refugee Convention
The Convention, which outlines the rights and benefits of refugees as well as the legal responsibilities of States in protecting them, also defines who does and does not qualify as a refugee.
As it’s considered the primary document providing the legal framework for the UNHCR, the UNHCR is also the main guardian of the Convention, and has followed its principles for more than 65 years.
Q&A: Chris Boian, Spokesperson, UNHCR
CGTN spoke to Chris Boian of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees about the state of the displaced and efforts to assist them.
BIG STORY: Q&A with UNHCR's Chris Boian pt.1BIG STORY: CGTN spoke to Chris Boian of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees about the state of refugees and refugee assistance.