The first real international effort was the League of Nations’ Commission for Refugees, which addressed the 1.5 million who fled the Russian Revolution of 1917. Despite (or because of) many countries tightening restrictions on immigration during the half-century leading up to World War II, international cooperation and procedures regarding displaced persons developed and became more defined. Still, though asylum and sanctuary are positive and progressive messages, even the nations that had agreed to the plan were more likely to obstruct emigration, via bureaucratic or even military means.
Ultimately, the main entity overseeing refugee issues was the United Nations — interestingly, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was established several years before the United Nations itself. In both cases, the obvious motivation was the severe disruption surrounding World War II, which created over 40 million refugees in Europe alone.
Today’s refugees are much more likely to come from Central Asia or Africa than Eastern Europe, but the policies and procedures were constructed to focus upon solutions for the victims rather than the specific circumstances of their origins. Today, the main debate is less about humanitarian assistance (though implementation of such assistance remains a constant struggle) than about what are called “economic” or “climate” refugees. The former can be seen as ‘displaced’ by an economic crisis, rendering them unable to seek basic survival necessities. The latter are in the same position due to the effects of climate change (typically, sea level and temperature changes).
There have been several mainstream very established efforts to help quail this problem but the only thing that will ever really be able to fight this on a permanent world-wide scale is if we can somehow find a sustainable peace that lasts throughout the ages. This peace cannot be forced upon people. It cannot be enforced by soldiers. There must be a real change in human thinking about the way the world works. It will take a change in the thought process of everyone alive. We will have to end civil unrest and wars which only add to the carnage. We must find a way to sustain a real change in the way the world thinks and works should we ever like to really help these people who are being pushed from their homes and forced to live like animals rather than the people they really are. Please help us move the world towards a brighter tomorrow.