In the last five years, at least 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited. Unable to return home, the displaced are often denied opportunities to work legally, attend school or access health care. UNHCR/Younghee Lee 

Refugee Summit Must Address the Cause: Conflict.

65 million people, that’s the population of the United Kingdom. Imagine if the entire population of the UK was forced to flee their homes. What would the world’s response be? How would we help?

Now think about this very real-life scenario: today over 65 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution. Think about that for a minute. Now think about what our rhetoric and our response have been.


At this year’s United Nations General Assembly, a number of topics will be discussed, but one topic is at the forefront of everyone’s minds: the global displacement crisis. The UN is hosting a special summit on Refugees and Migrants next week, and President Obama has called for a special Leaders Summit on Refugees.

While Jewish World Watch welcomes the increased attention to the global displacement crisis, there must be an increased focus on addressing the causes of displacement; and today the number one cause of displacement is violent conflict and mass atrocities.

This week, JWW joined with 45 leading human rights, humanitarian, and conflict prevention organizations to send a joint letter to President Obama reminding him of this fact, and to urge the President to lead the charge in increasing the United States’ and international community’s commitment to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

The world cannot continue with this symptom-oriented approach to the displacement crisis. Refugees do not choose to flee their homes willingly; they are forced to flee due to extenuating circumstances, most often conflict. Until we address the root causes of displacement more people will be forced to flee their homes every day.

We must expand our investment in preventing violent conflict and mass atrocities from breaking out, and also seek to find solutions to ongoing conflicts, to mitigate further loss of life and additional displacement. A durable peace, one that addresses and seeks to resolve the root causes and drivers of the conflict, must be sought for ongoing conflicts. This is the only way to break the cycle of violence. Short-term and weak peace agreements continue to fail and often cause further conflict.

We need long-term solutions to these problems, and we need strong leadership to help us achieve those solutions.


Help us tell the President:

Tweet: Dear @POTUS In order to address the displacement crisis we need to focus on the cause #ConflictCausedIt @jworldwatch


Read the full letter to the President (PDF).

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