Refugee Week Festivities
Luned Jones Media and Communications Officer, Wales
21st Jun 2012
It's the time to celebrate the contributions of so many who've fled death and persecution to find another life on our shores.
Stories abound in the media about the appalling conditions which force people to flee: from the violent suppression of dissenting voices in Syria to the ongoing crisis which faces the Rohingya minority in Burma, the world remains a bewildering and dangerous place for many.
It is also easy to forget the refugees torn from their homes just last year who remain in temporary camps across north Africa, still reeling from the impact of losing loved ones and all they possess in the Libyan uprising, whilst trying to eke out a fragile existence with little or no resources. Many hope against all odds that they will be chosen for resettlement to another country (a reality for less than 1% of the world's 12 million or so refugees), but for those who do make it to supposedly 'safe' third countries, the reality can be further devastation and poverty,
navigating punitive asylum systems and unable to support themselves through working.
Once in the UK, the press pay far less attention to the poverty and suffering which many asylum seekers have faced and rather perpetuate these realities for those seeking sanctuary through misinformation and xenophobia. A staggering 80% of the world's refugees are women and children who are most vulnerable to their unstable condition, and Oxfam Cymru works to support and empower a tiny fraction of these women to build sustainable and productive lives for themselves and their families.
Wonderful things are going on in Wales this month to engage and inform everyone about this diverse and interesting part of our society. From the Refugee House at St Fagans (http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/Events/wales/refugee-house) to a reading of the Asylum Monologues in the heart of Cardiff (http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/Events/wales/asylum-monologues), there are events to suit all ages. Visit http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/Events/wales to find out what's going on, and take a moment to consider the safety and prosperity which we can so easily take for granted as we go about our daily lives."