Credit: Meredith Stern

There is exactly ONE WEEK until the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally in Hartford! Today, we will be celebrating Article 14 of the UDHR, which states that (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries, and (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The global refugee crisis is as pressing as ever. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, in 2017, a record 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide because of persecution, violence, and conflict. This number has been on the rise for the past 20 years and will most likely continue to increase as international travel becomes easier and human rights transgressions remain unabating.

It’s important to understand where this problem is taking place and what we can do to stop it. Currently, most of the refugees in the world originate from five countries: Syria (6.3 million people), Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia. According to Pal Nesse of the Norwegian Refugee Council, countries experiencing conflicts are also caught in a vicious cycle, defined by mass migrations and detrimental effects on the economy and development.

However, the fact that the issue is quite localized implies that bringing about changes will dramatically improve the global displacement situation. In 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (, which laid out an action plan for international refugee response. Currently, two global compacts for refugees and safe, orderly, and regular migration are set to be adopted this year. Take a look at the UN Refugee Agency’s website for more details (

The U.S. has not been doing its best to contribute to the international community by accepting refugees. Our country is on track to admit the lowest number of refugees since modern refugee policies were enacted in 1980, according to CNN, due to President Trump’s low caps on numbers, travel bans, and attempts to curb illegal immigration.

But there is hope. There are many Americans who are doing their bests to ensure refugees are taken care of and are receiving the education they need in a brand new country. Take Mandy Manning, for example, who teaches English and math to immigrant and refugee teenagers at Ferris High School’s Newcomer Center in Spokane, Washington ( And there are many things YOU can do, as well. For example, you can use your skills and passions to assist refugees in your local community, employ refugees, donate to campaigns such as the UNHCR’s Nobody Left Outside or USA for UNHCR, and raise awareness of the global refugee situation and the conflict and emotional hardships they face both in their home countries as well as in their new homes.

Come #StandUp4HumanRightsCT on the 8th to be inspired and learn more about how YOU can create change.

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