Refugee Digest 60: Refugees, Migrants and Displaced Persons by Peter-John Pearson
The past weeks have emphasised again the extreme provocations, deep insecurity and lack of political will to support displaced persons. This ranges from the plight of refugees on the border between Belarus and Poland to the arrest of a priest helping migrants on the border of Mexico and the USA and the marked increase in migrants crossing the English Channel in a bid to find refuge in the UK. The lack of political will is also evident in the tardy fashion in which our Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has dealt, for example, with the re-opening of the Refugee Reception Offices in Cape Town, as well as its lack of proper compliance with court orders. It was also seen in the policy narratives of a number of political parties in the local elections in early November in South Africa. Internationally and locally this paints a dismal picture for those on the move at a time when the numbers of these vulnerable communities have increased mostly through no fault of their own. Of special note has been the COP 26 gathering in Glasgow, where some attention was given to communities made vulnerable, and eventually displaced, because of climate change. Governments were urged to engage in ‘averting, minimising and addressing’ displacement due to climate change.