Approximately 70.8 million people worldwide live far from their homeland, the highest number ever recorded. Of these, 25.9 million are migrants, 57% of whom come from Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. A total of 37,000 people are forced to leave their homes on a daily basis due to conflicts and persecutions. It is estimated that half of all migrants are children and of these children, more than half of them—approximately 3.7 million—do not go to school and have no right to education. Perhaps the first step towards understanding this global phenomenon and forming our own opinion without falling prey to misinformation that will lead us extreme views is to be properly informed by valid and objective sources. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, founded in 1950 to provide aid to the millions of Europeans who had lost their homes or had been displaced in the aftermath of WWII, is where we can find valid related information. https://www.unhcr.org/ 

“My brother and I were forced to leave Afghanistan because we were being threatened. Some members of my family were killed. It took us a month to get to Greece. The horrible memories from this trip still haunt me. I saw people dying before my very eyes—either because they were wounded or due to exhaustion. I remember it all so vividly. I’ll never forget it… We were put in a truck—there were forty of us.

We traveled through many cities and then were told to hide in a small car with eleven other people: three in front, seven in back, and my brother and I with another person hid in the trunk of the car. We stayed hidden for 7-8 hours while the car was moving. Without food or water. […] I keep thinking about those who didn’t even have the chance to embark on a trip like this in the hope of being saved. But I think of us too and the desperation we felt when we thought we wouldn’t make it.”

J. 17, who arrived in Greece from Afghanistan. 

J’s testimony is included in the HNHCR’s Desperate Journeys Report, which concerns refugee and migrant children that arrived in Europe from January to September 2019.