Identify & Get Informed
A definition given by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, states that a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country due to persecution, war, or violence. Consequently, the refugee’s return to his or her home country is prevented because of the fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion and membership in a particular social group. Sadly, refugee rights have only gained global recognition in the last few decades alongside the overall advent of the concept of general human rights.
Despite the recent spotlight on refugee rights and the well-being of refugees, there are still individuals who do not acknowledge that refugees are in need of basic protection and safe refuge. As a result, millions of refugees are refused legal entry on a daily basis. Moreover, public policies have the capacity to direct public attitude whether we like it or not. Restrictive mandates like the Dublin Regulations are an example of policies that fuel the popular misconception that refugees are unwanted and should not be given the option of a safe haven. Such regulations impose the need for refugees to have legitimate visas and various other documents, without taking concern for the special circumstances of refugees.
To learn more about the Global Issues’ Guide-to-Action model used for this issue click here
Lead & Get Others Involved
Bosnian national Jelena Silajdzic was just one of thousands of refugees that managed to escape with their families from Sarajevo to the Czech Republic during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the early nineties. She was working in the Czech film industry at the time which helped her safely secure a way for her husband, two children and herself to come to Prague. Being a refugee herself, Jelena decided to create an organization that could contribute to developing Czech society and its attitude towards multiculturalism and ethnic diversity, which she felt was still being taunted by hints of xenophobia and the fears of "foreigners."
Thus came the birth of Slovo 21
in 1999, which is an non-profit organization that organizes cultural events and educational projects aimed at supporting the integration of refugees and providing particular media support to refugees living within the Czech Republic. Such programs that Jelena has taken the initiative for and created along with Slovo 21 are the “Days of Prague Culture” and the “Days of Sarajevo Culture” which are both annual week-long events that bring together thousands of Bosnian, Czech artists, families and affiliates to celebrate their respective culture through photo exhibitions, film screenings and music productions. Slovo 21 is also responsible for an annual publication called “Family Next Door” which is a medium that shares pictures, life stories, thoughts about integration and perspectives of refugee families within in the Czech Republic.
If you have lead others to get involved in making an impact on the issue of child labour or any other global issue, let the rest of the TakingITGlobal (TIG) community know by writing your own TIG member's story and inspire others to create change just like you!
Now that you’re inspired to lead others on this global issue check out these links to learn more about how you can get involved with this issue.
Participate in a letter exchange program with refugees around the world with, RESPECT, a refugee education sponsorship program.
Organize a Benefit concert and find other ways to get involved with the Invisible Children Organization
Subscribe to KAIROS' monthly newsletter and learn more about KAIROS’ efforts to reunite refugee family members.
Plan and Get Moving
So how are you going to share this global issue with others? Many people are often dumbfounded by the unrealistic belief that they alone cannot bring any change by themselves. The excuse of “I’m just one person, what can I really do to help?” is truly faulty on account of the fact that there are so many opportunities to inspire nowadays with the introduction of social networking and online blogs.
Here are some things that you can do on TIG:
- Create a petition or make a commitment raise awareness on refugee rights
- Start a TIG group or a project dedicated to informing and empowering young people in your community and around the world about trends in refugee rights like the recent abuses to refugees by Greek border patrol, or about the refugee children in areas on ongoing conflict like the Congo and Somalia
- If you’re not sure how to start a conversation around this issue, connect with other TIG members on our discussion boards.
- Check out TIG’s Action Guides to learn how to make the action you want to take on this global issue a reality.
Here’s what else you can do:
- You can work within student-run/student-led groups and associations and engage in advocacy for refugee rights/protests/campaigns.
- You can get in touch with your local political representative and express your concerns about how you government is dealing with refugee rights-related issues.
- Watch refugee rights-related videos on Youtube to get a sense of what refugee camps are like. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVGTb4gtJTU
- You can become a member of an International organization that takes action on refugee rights and engage in activities like letter writing campaigns, vigils, public demonstrations, email petitions and awareness-raising concerts to rally support for refugee rights.
This is simply the beginning for there is a world of opportunities for you to plan and get moving on. So what are you waiting for? Get Moving!
Have a Lasting impact
Learning about a new global issue is only the first step to developing the skills you need to have a lasting impact. So let the rest of TIG know what kind of change you want to see with the issue of Refugee Rights by joining us in one of our online discussions described below.
Are refugees a burden to the host country that takes them in?
Should border regulations be more compassionate towards refugees?
Should the state of refugees be a top priority to national/international governments within our local communities?
Slovo 21: Integration of Freign Nationals. Web Address:
Radio Praha Czech Republic: A Second Homeland. Web Address:
Have something more to add to what we’ve discussed above? Then check out this global issue’s wiki page to have your say!