Over the years, humanity has been at the mercy of humans and suffered for it. And one of the most adverse effects of human greed and apathy has perhaps been the ever-rising refugee crisis. Simply put, the wars, natural and man-made disasters, and the threat of persecution or worse have left millions of lives without a place to call home. 

Here are some documentaries that everyone must watch to understand the scale and impact of the refugee crisis: 

1. Human Flow

The 2017 German documentary by Ai Weiwei is one of the most comprehensive stories of the refugee crisis on a global scale, as it takes the viewers across 20 countries. By displaying the gravity and scale of the situation, the documentary will make you sit up and take notice of the abject condition of humans in refugee camps, and the need for immediate action and long-lasting compassion. 


Know more about the documentary here. 

2. Cries From Syria

For over 5 years Syria has been the focal point of one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. And this HBO-original documentary captures exactly that – by presenting actual war footage and interviews with activists, revolutionaries, survivors, and the guerilla fighters. 


Know more about the documentary here.

3. Lifeboat 

Refugees are often forced to undertake extremely dangerous routes to escape an equally, if not more, dire situation. The short documentary Lifeboat – second in Fitzgerald’s trilogy – details the journey of refugees stuck in the Mediterranean Sea, and the timely help they received as volunteers from a German non-profit risked their lives to rescue them. 

New Yorker

Know more about the documentary here. 

4. God Grew Tired Of Us

Sudan has been the home of one of the longest civilian wars in history. The war last ended in 2005, though Sudan is now once again subject to civil tensions. This 2006 documentary chronicles the arduous journey of three young Sudanese men, who – along with 37,000 other men – walked a thousand miles to reach a refugee camp in Ethiopia. 


Know more about the documentary here. 

5. Fire At Sea

When director Gianfranco Rosi won the Golden Bear award for the movie, he stated that it wasn’t ‘acceptable’ that people died in their attempt to escape tragedies. And that perfectly sums up the story the movie wanted to showcase – a contrast between the lives of the local islanders and the migrants daring to cross the sea, in the hope for a ‘safe’ life. 


6. City of Ghosts

This 2017 documentary won the Courage Under Fire Award from the International Documentary Association, and rightfully so, as it chronicles the life of the Syrian media activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently. This is a triumphant tale of the hard-hitting reality of a group of journalists constantly on the run and forced to remain undercover, in an attempt to record the atrocities on their homeland. 


Know more about the documentary here and the media group here. 

7. Another News Story

The reason the shocking realities and harrowing stories of the refugee crisis from across the globe reach us is because of a group of reporters, cameramen, journalists, and producers. Another News Story captures the journey of these people, whose lives become interspersed with dangers, red tape, and physical obstacles, in their attempt to tell the stories that matter. 


Know more about the documentary here.

Just because we are not at the forefront witnessing the effects of wars, does not mean that people are not experiencing them. And such documentaries bring the much-needed but equally harrowing stories of human suffering to the limelight. Because if not for these, the world may continue to blow up in a bang, and we’d claim to have heard only whimpers.