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Statistics and conditions of refugees around the world and a brief history of Tibet

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Statistics of refugees around the world todayAccording to recent research conducted by the United Nations refugee agency, there are more than 50 million people who are classified as refugees, are seeking asylum, and are internally displaced, throughout the world. The reports indicate that a total of 51.2 million people were displaced by force in 2013, representing an increase of 6 million from the previous year. The war in Syria contributed significantly to the massive increase, which had contributed to nearly 2.5 million refugees and 6.7 million internally displaced persons by 2013. Central African Republic and South Sudan, both in Africa, contributed significantly majorly to the new displacement.
The total figure of refugees in the world is a representation of a large volume of persons in need of assistance, which is bound to affect foreign aid budgets of donor countries and the acceptance and hosting abilities of nations adversely affected by the refugee problem. Refugee numbers account for 16.7 million people of those accounted for in the displacement data, with a total of 11.7 under the care of UNHCR and 5 million are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Organization for Palestine. Roughly more than half under the care of UNHCR have in exile for than half a decade. The countries that account for the highest refugee numbers under the care of UNHCR are Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia, which combined represent more than half of worldwide refugee aggregate.

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On the other hand, Pakistan, Iran, and Lebanon are homes to more refugees than all the other nations. Geographically, Asia and the Pacific are in the overall host to the largest refugee population totaling 3.5 million. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for approximately 2.9 million refugees whereas the Middle East, and North Africa are home to nearly 2.6 million.
Current situation of Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal
Currently, there are close to 1,220,078 Tibetans living in exile in different parts of the world, a majority of whom are living in more than fifty-two settlements in different countries in South Asia. Most Tibetans are located in India, which accounts for more than 35 percent of all Tibetans, Nepal, accounting for ten percent, and seven percent in Bhutan. There are currently nineteen settlements with agricultural activities, seventeen engaging in agro-related activities, and ten settlement engaged in handicraft activities. Furthermore, there are several other Tibetans found in dispersed communities in several towns and centres throughout India.
Socio-Economic Conditions of Tibetans in Exile
On their initial arrival in exile, most Tibetans were either starved or infected by diseases resulting from the low altitudes and experienced difficulties settling in places with different cultures, in distant parts of the world. A majority died from the diseases, changes in climatic conditions, and from the political oppression from their home country. Initially, a majority of them were involved in the construction of roads though they were gradually rehabilitated in the newly established settlements to the south of India. They have undergone training in the cultivation of local Indian crops such as maize, millet, rice and mustard, and rapidly took up agriculture as their main economic activity. They are currently engaged in the making and selling of garments, particularly sweaters. The weaving and selling of sweaters have become an alternative source of living for most Tibetans in India while agriculture remains the main source of livelihood.
A survey conducted by the Tibetan Demographics established that the highest proportion of share of earnings, an estimated 40 percent, comes from Tibetans’ involvement in trade and commerce that includes the selling of sweaters. Those in formal employment in such fields as the military and government account for twenty-four percent of the household earnings, agriculture and associated economic activities account for twenty-six percent of the total labour force contributing only 8 percent to the total household earnings. The other sources of income, apart from dependence on agriculture, are subsidiary sources including earnings from sponsorships, remittances from the government and foreign organizations. The government of India and Nepal looks after the more disadvantaged households. The 1990s saw the mass immigration of Tibetans to the United States, the result of which has led to an increase in remittances to those back home. As per official records, the average Tibetan household was able to earn Rs. 66,800 annually, translating to Rs 13100 per capita per annum.
The current standards of living of the Tibetans is comparable to those of the neighboring local societies, exceeding those of other local Indian households in some areas. The settlements all have primary and secondary schools, healthcare centres, and financial institutions. The religious ones can visit monasteries, nunneries and temples in the surroundings. Cooperate societies play a significant role in the financial development of the Tibetans. They can obtain seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides from the cooperatives, which also collectively market their harvests and offer common services for instance ploughing, harvesting and storage. Education is considered important by most Tibetan families and currently there are more than 84 schools established in the settlements with the assistance of the government of India and foreign donations. The populations have managed to attain literacy levels of 70 percent and 98 percent among those between 19 and 26.
Brief history of Tibet
The conflict between Tibet and China is frequently perceived as an ethical or religious one. This is comprehensible, considering the importance of traditions and conviction in the conflict. Primarily, while the historical occupants of the Tibetan plateau are Tibetans, the mainstream traditional group in China is Han Chinese. The government of China is composed mainly of Han Chinese, and it lacks a good relationship with the minor ethnicities in China’s. Secondly, Buddhism is the major religion among nearly all Tibetans are Buddhists, while ethnic Han Chinese are commonly not, despite the fact the Chinese people are becoming progressively religious now that the philosophy of Communism has weakened in China. Furthermore, the Chinese administration has a tendency of oppressing religious groups, particularly those that have magnitudes of followers and which have the likelihood of changing into political unions that could intimidate the government’s control. Tibetan Buddhism possesses this type of support and transformative likelihood. In consideration of these facts, news from the Tibet struggle frequently depicts a picture of powerful religious and tribal struggle. Though these are features of the fight, they are better defined as residual reasons or even repercussions of the conflict. The main sources of war in Tibet are history and topography; Chinese safety and independence apprehensions; and the strategies of the Chinese administration in Tibet. Though they focus on ethnic and religious dissimilarities between Tibetans and Chinese, these issues are the main drivers of the fight in Tibet.
Daniélou, Alain. 2003. A brief history of India. Rochester. VT: Inner Traditions.
Goldstein, Melvyn C. 2007. A history of modern Tibet. Vol. 2, Vol. 2. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
International Association for Tibetan Studies, Uradyn Erden Bulag, and Hildegard Diemberger. 2007. The Mongolia-Tibet interface: opening new research terrains in Inner Asia : PIATS 2003 : Tibetan studies : Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003. Leiden: Brill.
Lopez, Donald S. 2011. The Tibetan book of the dead a biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Mehra, Parshotam. 2004. From conflict to conciliation Tibetan polity revisited: a brief historical conspectus of the Dalai Lama Panchen-Lama standoff, ca. 1904 – 1989. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Smith, Warren W. 2010. Tibet’s last stand?: the Tibetan uprising of 2008 and China’s response. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Tarab <Tulku>. 2000. A brief history of Tibetan academic degrees in Buddhist philosophy. Copenhagen: NIAS.

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