Refugee camps are unsustainable
EARLIER this month I, along with others, visited the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, which is about 100km from the Syrian border, to experience first-hand the life of refugees with a view to improving their lives in a holistic way.
After my visit, I now believe we need to re-look how we view refugees and the establishment of refugee camps.
The refugee quandary has been going on since World War II and nothing has really changed.
The challenges seem to be the same today: innocent people are persecuted, forcing them to leave their homes and family and seek refuge in other countries.
But to spend one’s entire life in a refugee camp is unacceptable. Like other refugee camps in Jordan, for example, the Zarqa refugee camp there was established for refugees who left Palestine as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It is still in existence. Most of those Palestinian refugees and their descendants living in neighbouring countries in the Middle East still have refugee status, which limits their basic rights to health care, employment, education and citizenship.
Therefore, I believe we need to think outside the traditional aid structure system and revisit the establishment of refugee camps.
Very soon refugee camps will become unsustainable. Pietermaritzburg