As a nonprofit organization, a primary goal within our mission at The Little Market is to raise awareness about fair trade principles and human rights. World Refugee Day is on June 20, and we would like to take this opportunity to shed light on the devastating reality many refugees are facing, speak to how human rights transcend borders, and introduce our readers to avenues through which they can support immigrants and refugees.
At The Little Market, we prioritize working with diverse communities and marginalized populations from around the world; we currently work with more than 60 artisan groups in 28 countries. Many of the artisans we work with include refugees and immigrants. Furthermore, many of them have faced economic disparities, conflict in their home countries, and human rights issues that have led them to relocate in search of peace, security, and a brighter future.
We are heartbroken by the practices of family separation taking place in the United States. Most of these families are traveling from Central American countries including Guatemala and El Salvador, where some of the artisan groups we work with are located; these countries face poverty and extreme violence. We stand by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and we recognize the basic rights and respect each human being deserves. Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, said the following on the topic of migrant and refugee children: “As a matter of principle, the Secretary-General believes that refugees and migrants should always be treated with respect and dignity, and in accordance with existing international law. Children must not be traumatized by being separated from their parents. Family unity must be preserved.”
The admission of refugees into the United States has also drastically decreased with travel bans and “extreme vetting.” Earlier this month, in a move that is expected to negatively affect women and children fleeing abuse, it was ruled that immigration judges can no longer grant asylum to victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse including gang violence. Furthermore, Human Rights Watch recently reported, “At the halfway point of this fiscal year, the United States had admitted only 10,548 refugees, a 74% drop compared with the same period in 2017. This at a time when Middle Eastern nations are struggling to maintain asylum for 5.6 million Syrian refugees, when more than 700,000 displaced Rohingya have poured from Burma into Bangladesh, and when most of the world’s 20 million refugees are stuck in protracted situations with little prospect of returning home anytime soon.”
Please join us in supporting the refugee community and working toward restoring the system to provide refugees with security. We hope for a peaceful resolution, one in which families are not torn apart, children are safe with their parents, and refugees and immigrants can find security, equal rights, and respect while they travel to build a brighter future.
To learn more and find out how you can make a positive impact, please visit: