Needs Of Syrian Refugee In Canada

Needs Of Syrian Refugee In Canada.

Question:

Discuss about the Psychosocial needs of Syrian refugee youths in Canada.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

“Eastward and westward storms are breaking,–great, ugly whirlwinds of hatred and blood and cruelty. I will not believe them inevitable.”

The above quoted lines of W.E.B. Du Bois from the book “The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois” clearly indicate the state of the present world. It is to be noted that the world at presently in inflicted with various crisis like the “The Syrian War Crisis”, “The Greece Crisis”, “The Rohingya crisis” and various others. The power crisis which the world is facing at the present moment can be attributed to various factors like the unequal distribution of power among the various entities of the present world, the rise of the various military industry complexes, the power discrepancy between the first world countries and the third world countries and various others (El-Khatib et al., 2013). It is to be noted that all these crises give rise to not only the various economic as well as social constraints but also give rise to the refugee crisis which the world is facing at large at the present moment. According to the UNHCR (2018), “An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18”. The following figure gives an overview of the refugee crisis faced by the world at present-

Figure 1: Trend of global displacement and proportion displacement

Source: UNHCR

It is to be noted that there are several kinds of refugees- the political asylum seekers, “internally displaced people”, environmental migrants, forced displacement and various others (Fargues & Fandrich, 2012). It is to be noted that the various nations of the world have several legislations in place for the protection as well as the asylum of the refugees. According to the UNHCR (2018), “The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as other legal texts, such as the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, remain the cornerstone of modern refugee protection”. Therefore, in accordance with these international dictums the various nations of the world like Canada, USA, UK and various others provide asylum to the refugees belonging to the various crisis area. A typical example of this is the asylum provided by the nation of Canada to the refugees of Syria. Patrick Kingsley talks about the nature of the various refugees in the words, “For a start, people who traveled for so many miles through such horrific conditions in order to find work cannot accurately be portrayed as lazy benefit-scroungers”. This paper intends to study the psychosocial needs of the Syria refugee youths in the nation of Canada.

The Psychosocial Well-Being of Refugees Youth

The psychosocial concept

Psychosocial needs can be defined as the needs which the refugees as well as the asylum seekers needs in order to “meet their basic needs includes their emotional and mental well-being” (Wells et al., 2016). “Psychosocial care skills” form an important domain of the psychosocial needs (Almoshmosh, 2015). These skills enable the natives or the citizens of a particular nation to help the refugees to fulfill their psychosocial needs. The domain of the psychosocial needs consists of various needs like-

  • Social needs
  • Cultural needs
  • Sexual needs
  • Spiritual needs
  • Mental needs
  • Emotional needs
  • Health care needs
  • Others

Psychosocial challenges affecting refugee youth

According to Ed Diener, “Probably the biggest insight… is that happiness is not just a place but also a process. …Happiness is an ongoing process of fresh challenges, and… it takes the right attitudes and activities to continue to be happy”. Therefore, the well-being of the refugees will depend on a proper correlation of the above listed needs. The social needs of the refugees include a proper social environment where they can mingle with the other natives (Jabbar & Zaza, 2014). This need can also include the desire of the refugees to be loved by the native citizens of the nation to which they are migrating and also the feeling of belongingness. This need of the refugees can also include a desire for an environment which is different from the social unrest in their own parent country. The “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” theory provides an insight into the social needs of the people only in the context of the workplace framework but also in the general social needs of the refugees in the asylum lands as well  (Jabbar & Zaza, 2014). The cultural needs of the refugees include the desire of theirs to adhere to as well as practice the culture of their native land to the new country to which they have taken asylum. The “health care need” of the refugees includes their desire to have effective health care facilities which will look after them in case of illness, medical emergencies and other similar situations (Hassan et al., 2016).

It is interesting to note that the precepts of “Self-determination theory” (SDT) are important to note here. This theory can be seen as a “a macro theory of human motivation and personality that concerns people’s inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs” (Fargues & Fandrich, 2012). The focus of the theory is on the motivation factor which determines the action of an individual in an external environment that is different from his or her normal environment. The theory also takes into consideration “the degree to which an individual’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined” (Fargues & Fandrich, 2012). Therefore, the behavior of the refugees in the country of their asylum can be determined on the basis of this particular theory.

Syrian War Crisis

In the opinion of Aberjhani articulated in the work “Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I”, “Freedom rings bells to wake us from the comfort of beautiful dreams and empower the efforts that turn them into reality”. This line of Aberjhani becomes very relevant when the current crisis in the country of Syria is taken into consideration. It is to be noted that the Syria is a South-east Asian country where the majority of the population consists of Muslims. The crisis of Syria started in the year 2011 when the citizens of the nation rose in open rebellion against the existing government of the nation (Aras & Mencutek, 2015). The present scenario in Syria finds adequate representation in the words of Aberjhani articulated in the work “Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry”,

“Death wins nothing here,

gnawing wings that amputate––

then spread, lift up, fly.”

According to the BBC News (2018), one of the major reasons for the crisis in Syria is the diversity in the population of the nation, which comprises of the Shia as well as the Sunni Muslims. It is to be noted that the Prime Minister of Syria, Bashar al-Assad used to govern the nation in a dictatorial manner. Therefore, several entities of the population rose in rebellion against this autocratic rule of Bashar al-Assad in the year 2011. It is to be noted that since then there has been various interventions on the part of various international organizations like the United Nations and nations belonging to the first world like United States of America, Canada, Russia and others to resolve the crisis. However, all negotiations have failed to deliver the desired results (Aras & Mencutek, 2015). According to the “Refugee Council of Australia” (2018), the “March 2017 Geneva peace talks on Syria” was arranged so that the issue in the nation of Syria could be resolved. However, this intervention on the part of the United Nations resulted in a peaceful environment in the nation only for a week. It is to be noted that the crisis in Syria has been made grim by the participation of the various first world countries of the world in the domestic affairs of Syria. Russia, for instance, is a supporter of the cause of the government of Bashar al-Assad (Aras & Mencutek, 2015). However, the United States of America, on the other hand, is a supporter of the cause of the rebel people of the nation of Syria and therefore has taken a stance against the dictatorial government of Bashar al-Assad. The words of Aberjhani articulated in the work “The River of Winged Dreams” becomes significant here,

“In an age of bombs

guzzling blood, skylarks merge peace

with thought and action.”

The above mentioned situation in the nation became aggravated when the government of Bashar al-Assad took the help of the country of Russia to bomb the areas where the rebellious faction of the crisis resides. This has not only resulted in a capital destruction of the human lives belonging to the nation of Syria but has also led to a capital destruction of the natural resources of the nation. The serious threat which the current crisis in Syria and the consequent refugees crisis entails has been adequately captured in the words of Samantha Power when she said, “Half of Syria’s refugees are children, and we know what can happen to children who grow to adulthood without hope or opportunity in refugee camps. The camps become fertile recruiting grounds for violent extremists”.
This grim situation has made the citizens of the nation to fled from their motherland of Syria and seek asylum in various other countries of the world like Canada, the United States of America, the adjoining nations and others. It is to be noted that the United States of America has been a major supporter of the cause of the Syrian refugees and as per a report of the “US State Department”, the total aid fund of the United States of America since 2012 till now has touched an astounding figure of $7 billion and is still counting (Morello & Morello, 2018). In addition to this, the government of the United States of America also provides political asylum to the refugees of Syria along with other aids possible (U.S. Department of State, 2018). It is to be noted that the nation of Canada is also not very far behind in this list of supporters to the cause of the current crisis in the nation of Syria.

The Refugee Journey and Its Impact on Youth

Experiences impacting Syrian refugee youth in Canada

It is to be noted that the citizens of the present world have become more migratory than the citizens of the previous era. This might be a reflection of several factors which the world and its citizens are facing at the moment. One probable reason for this is the conflict or the crisis which the majority of the third world countries like Syria, Botswana, Greece and others are facing at the moment. Therefore, in order to evade the conflict in their homeland the citizens of these countries often migrate from their homeland to the first world countries in a bid to get better as well as safer environments (Benezer & Zetter, 2014).

The three phases of the refugee journey

There are three stages to the migration process of the youths as well as the other refugees. These stages can be summarized as pre-migration, migration and post-migration stages (Edge, Newbold & McKeary, 2014). The first stage of pre-migration involves the factors which force the citizens to migrate from their host countries to the other safer nations. For example, in the case of Syria, the pre-migration stage can involve the crisis which the nation is facing at the moment. The country Syria has been torn apart with the struggle for political power ever since the year 2011. Therefore, the citizens are looking for safer abodes to fulfill their life requirements.

The second stage involves the stage of the actual migration. It is to be noted that several factors affect the decision of the refugees for the selection of the country to which they are about to seek the political asylum. However, the primary consideration of the people is the security factor (Benezer & Zetter, 2014). It is to be noted that along with the security factor other psychosocial needs also play an important role in this process.

The third stage is the stage of pre-migration. It is to be noted that during this particular stage the refugees look for the fulfillment of their various psychosocial needs (Fazel et al., 2012). The various refugees look for the fulfillment of their various psychosocial needs in the chosen country of their refuge. Therefore, this stage is one of the most important stages during the entire journey.

Empirical evidence linking phases of post-migration with psychosocial well-being

It is to be noted that en empirical study of the various literatures published in the context of the refugees reveals that the various refugees after migrating to the nation of their political asylum are confronted with various factors. The primary among them is the physical disorders as well as the ailments which they face (Edge, Newbold & McKeary, 2014). Most of the studies reveal the fact that the majority of the refugees suffer from various sleeping disorders and other ailments like stress, anxiety, depression and several others. In addition to this, there are several other factors with which the refugees are confronted with like the lack of employment, housing problems and others.

Canada’s response to the “Syrian War Crisis”

According to the statistics provided by the Government of Canada, “Canada has committed over $1 billion in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the Syria crisis” (The Globe and Mail, 2018). In addition to this, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, in the year 2016 announced that “Canada’s new strategy to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, including further increases over the next three years to Canada’s security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance” (CBC News, 2018). In addition to this the government of Canada also provides asylum services to the refugees of Syria. According to an estimate, “The Government of Canada resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 29, 2016”(Canadian international assistance in Syria, 2018). In addition to this, the Canadian government under its “Canada’s humanitarian assistance” program provides aid to the citizens of Syria who are still residing in Syria to “meet the food, shelter, health, protection and emergency education needs” of theirs (Canada’s response to the conflict in Syria, 2018). The government of Canada, under the leadership of Justin Trudeau has announced the inauguration of a new program called by the name of “Syria Emergency Relief Fund” (Canada’s response to the conflict in Syria, 2018). It is to be noted that the government of Canada has generously contributed an amount of more than $31.8 million to the “Syrian Emergency Relief Fund” to “support humanitarian relief efforts in response to the conflict in Syria, which the Government of Canada is matching” (Refugees, 2018). In addition to all these, the government of Canada has inaugurated a new program called “security-related assistance” (Refugees, 2018). It is to be noted that under this particular program the government of Canada seeks to mitigate the amount of risks which the citizens of Syria faces at the moment due to the use of the chemical and other harmful kinds of weapons which not only threaten to destroy their present lives but also threatens to destroy their future as well.

Factors Impacting the Psychosocial Well-being of Refugee Youth

As per the review provided by the “United Nation’s Human Development Index” in the year 2016, the nation of Syria stands on the 149th position out of the 188 present countries of the world (Pantti, 2016). It is interesting to note that as per the same review given by the “United Nation’s Human Development Index” in the year 2010, the nation of Syria had a ranking of 113 on a list of 189 countries (Pantti, 2016). This is a reflection of the current crisis which the nation of Syria is undergoing since the year 2011. According to an estimate, “More than 13 million people inside Syria are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance; over six million of these have been internally displaced by conflict” (The number of displaced people in the world just hit a record high., 2018). In addition to this there are several million people still living in Syria are in need of some of the most basic amenities of life like food, shelter, primary education and others. Therefore, the majority of the population of Syria has decided to follow the path of migration (Alpak et al., 2015). It is to be noted that the balance as well as the order of the world has been considerably disturbed as more than 5 million local citizens of Syria have migrated to the neighbouring countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordon and others (The number of displaced people in the world just hit a record high., 2018).

Psychological factors

The Canadian government declared that primary aim of the funds allocated to the Syrian cause and the asylum provided to the refugees is to provide “an opportunity to put a vehicle where Canadians will be able to channel their generosity” (Ryan, 2012). However, just providing asylum to the refugees is not enough. The various factors affecting the psychosocial well-being of the refugee youths can be broadly classified under the headings psychosocial factors, family related factors and systematic factors. The primary psychosocial need of the refugees is security. It is to be noted that the citizens of the nation of Syria have been facing political turmoil since the year 2011 and even before that in the autocratic rule of the Syrian Prime Minister, Bashar al-Assad (Ryan, 2012). Therefore, the primary as well as the foremost requirement of the Syrian refugees is security which the nation of Canada because of its stable political as well as social environment can easily provide to the refugees of Syria (Francis, 2012). In addition to this, there are various other psychosocial needs of the refugees in the nation of Canada like the physical needs, spiritual needs, sexual needs, educational needs, occupational needs and others.

Family related factors

One of the psychosocial needs of the refugees from Syria is a safe and sound social environment where they can achieve their life goals in a much better manner and lead a safe life. The citizens of Syria have been facing social unrest all their life and also the society of Syria is a very conservative on account of its being a Muslim one (Evron, 2013). Therefore, the social environment of the nation of Canada will be an ideal place for the people of Syria as here they will get to fulfill their intended life goals in a much better manner and also to lead their life in a much better manner (Francis, 2012). Moreover, they will get to lead to lives as per their own choice as the government of Canada is a very liberal one and does not put restrictions on the lives of its citizens. Thus, the social environment of Canada will cater to the social needs of the war refugees of Canada.

Another psychosocial need of the refugees of Syria is the cultural need which would lead them to live their lives in a much better manner. The culture of Syria as already mentioned is a very conservative one and therefore, the citizens of Syria do not get to enjoy and live their lives as per their own choice (Evron, 2013). Therefore, the benevolent atmosphere of Canada will be very suitable for the refugees of Syria who had to spend all their lives in a very conservative culture (Francis, 2012).

The educational climate provided by the nation of Canada is also a very remarkable one. The nation is one of the premier ones in terms of the quality of education which it provides to the students and it also boasts of some of the best colleges as well as universities of the world (Francis, 2012). The nation, along with the various world renowned educational institutions also consists of some of the most reputed companies as well as organizations of the world. Thus, the chances are very that the students who complete their education from these reputed educational institutions of the nation of Canada are likely to get jobs at these companies as well as organizations which form the backbone of the economy of Canada. It is to be noted that the educational opportunities provided by the nation of Syria is not par with the ones provided by the first world countries or for that matter of the other third world countries (Sirin & Rogers-Sirin, 2015). Moreover, the job prospects provided by the nation of Syria is also not on par with the other nations of the world be it the first world countries or the third world countries (Sirin & Rogers-Sirin, 2015). Therefore, educational as well as job facilities will be another psychosocial need of the refugees of the nation of Syria which have not been getting in their native land of Syria (Allison, 2013). The country of Canada with its highly developed educational system and its global companies is more likely to provide better opportunities to the people than the ones which they used to get their native mother land.

Systematic factors

One of the most important psychosocial needs of the refugees is the health as well as the mental need which would enable them to live their lives in a much better manner. It is to be noted that Canada is one of the advanced countries of the world in terms of the health care as well as the mental care opportunities which they provide to the people (Francis, 2012). Therefore, the refugees of Syria will enjoy the opportunities provided by the country of Canada. It is to be noted that the health care as well as the mental care opportunities offered by the nation of Syria are very limited and therefore the citizens of Syria had to compromise on that front (Milbury et al., 2013). The wealthy citizens of the nation take the help of the medical as well as the health care services provided by the first world countries (Sharara & Kanj, 2014). However, the poor people of the nation had to compromise and suffer as the nation of Syria has not made much of progress in the field of health care and mental care.

The above listed ones are some of the basic psychosocial needs of the war refugees of the nation of Syria. In the opinion of Aysha Taryam, “If Syria is to rise from the ashes it needs a united Arab world which has one thing on its agenda, not the falling of a dictator for we have seen many of those fall, but the reemergence of a prosperous Arab nation, one that is not reliant on foreign aid but is self-sustained and set on its way to become powerful once again”. Therefore, the best way to find a solution to the current crisis in the nation of Syria will be to follow the lead provided by Aysha Taryam. However, presently the various nations of the world need to take the onus on themselves and provide safe asylums to the people of Syria. The government of Canada in one of its declarations said, “It’s time to live up to this country’s proud, proud history of being a place of refuge, of safety. Canadians can do it but they need a partner in Ottawa”.

Literature Gap

It is to be noted that since the emergence of the war crisis in the nation of Syria various authors as well as researchers have written on the topics of the crisis in Syria, the issues which the nation is facing, the possible solution for the issues faced by them, the refugee crisis, the economic drainage which the war has brought not only on the nation of Syria but also on the world economy, the aids and funds provided by the various nations of the world like the United States of America, Canada and others and also the interventions of the United Nations. Therefore, as it becomes apparent from the above list the major researches as well as the works which have been conducted in this particular field have been in the aspect of war and the consequent crisis which followed. This particular research will be a unique one as not many researchers have tried to focus on the issues of the “psychosocial needs of the Syrian refugee youths in the nation of Canada”. This research will therefore focus on the psychosocial needs of the Syrian refugee youths who were deprived of their fundamental rights in their own country during the autocratic rule of the Syrian Prime Minister, Bashar al-Assad. Therefore, this paper will focus on the psychosocial requirements of the refugee youths who after moving to the nation of Canada will be hoping for a change in the social, political, economic, educational, mental, health care and other aspects of everyday life. This research will primarily deal with the psychosocial needs of the Syrian war refugee youths who are in the age band of 18-25 and will also try to find the ways which will improve their lot.

Conclusion

Therefore, from the above discussion it becomes clear that the Syrian war and its related refugee crisis is one of the major issues which the world is facing at the moment. It has not only taken a toll on the nation of Syria but is also affecting the other nations of the world. Therefore, the various developed and the first world nations of the world like the United States of America, Canada and others and also the United Nations needs to address the issue in order to reclaim the equilibrium of the nation of Syria but also to reclaim the power balance of the world. More important than that, addressing the psychosocial need of the Syrian refugees is of paramount importance because if the needs of these refugees are not properly addressed then it will further aggravate the situation. The fulfillment of the psychosocial needs of the refugees of the Syrian crisis will help to improve their condition and will also help them not to resort to extreme means.

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Needs Of Syrian Refugee In Canada