As we near the end of another eventful year for refugees and migration policy, our editors select 2018’s best stories and commentary on Refugees Deeply.
IN 2018, THE world’s displaced population reached 68.5 million, including more than 25 million refugees – numbers that have soared since Refugees Deeply launched nearly three years ago.
This was the year asylum policies tightened across the globe as wealthier nations in the grip of right-wing populism took unprecedented steps to deter refugees and migrants. And it was the year the effects of harsh policies on the most vulnerable migrants – particularly children – came into focus in the United States and Australia, prompting officials to partially reverse course after public outcries.
It was the year humanitarian groups and individual volunteers were arrested, criminalized and harassed into ending their work to help people on the move. It was the year the world spoke seriously of large-scale refugee returns – of Syrians, Rohingya, Congolese and Afghans – often as human-rights and aid groups warned that such plans were premature. Meanwhile, a glance at media headlines made it seem as if the world’s worst refugee crises were happening in the United States and Europe – but those crises were often political and manufactured by nations themselves. In reality, countries such as Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic saw far larger flows of newly displaced people. The developing world still hosts 85 percent of the world’s refugees, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
Finally, 2018 was the year the world came together and adopted two global compacts, one on refugees and one on migration. While not without controversy, their adoption is a minor miracle in the current political climate. It remains to be seen whether they’ll bring about real change – and who will benefit most.