2017: Fighting Unprecedented Challenges for Refugees

By Gabe Cahn, HIAS.org

In a calendar year marked by polarization, inspiration, and activation, identifying a clear inflection point is a tough task. For the world’s refugees, the organizations that protect them, and the communities that welcome them, 2017 was a year defined by unprecedented challenges and pulling together to overcome them. And then overcoming some more. 

Never before has there been a greater need to find sustainable solutions for the world’s displaced. In the annual Global Trends Report report released on World Refugee Day in June, UNHCR estimated that by the end of 2016, “65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations.” On average, that’s one out of every 113 people.

Paired with the United States’ abrupt retreat from its traditional role as the global leader in refugee protection—through antagonistic political rhetoric, overly restrictive policies ranging from flat out bans to the lowest refugee admissions ceiling in history, and a pronounced drawback on the international stage—the geopolitical uncertainty affecting refugees has undoubtedly increased over the past 12 months.

At the same time, the level of mobilization in support of refugees during the last year, both in the United States and abroad, has reached new heights.

In a year like this one, every act, no matter how big and small, mattered.  

2017 has proven that each of our actions can have a deep and lasting effect on the lives of human beings fleeing violence, genocide, and terror.

[[{"fid":"4747","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]]

During the last fiscal year, HIAS resettled approximately 3,300 refugees and SIVs in the United States and offered assistance and legal protection to tens of thousands more in 11 countries around the globe. Each individual refugee served represents a human life afforded safety, stability, and the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

In the months ahead, as we collectively rededicate ourselves to the protection and welcome of refugees, let us strive to continue making a positive impact.

To learn more about HIAS’ work this past year, read our 2017 Impact Report. And to stay up to date about refugees and the communities that welcome them, follow HIAS on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Search HIAS