Welcoming Refugees, an Unresolved Task

The NGO Sea Watch looks for ports in the Mediterranean to disembark 65 migrants who were rescued at sea. (Twitter/@seawatchcrew/EP)

Governments are still far from being able to guarantee the safety of migrants and displaced people arriving in Europe

The refugee crisis is one of the most severe global issues in recent years. A common topic in media and communication, political discussions, daily conversations, and yet, who are these people and where do they come from?

June 20th was the commemoration of World Refugee Day. It aims to give visibility to those who have had to escape from their own country because of violence.

The European countries were not prepared to receive a massive number of refugees escaping armed conflicts in Syria, the Middle East, and Africa.

In the last few years, governments have applied measures to terminate the arrival of migrants. These rules often violate the rights of those who are displaced. For this reason, many are forced to follow dangerous routes.

 

The High Intake of Refugees

The arrival of refugees and the solicitation of asylum has increased due to the civil war in Syria, a conflict which started in 2011 and has caused millions of people to flee their homes.

Since then, many Syrian citizens have travelled through land and ocean to reach the borders of Greece and Bulgaria. Also, migrants from African countries who escape from violence in their own nations arrive at the borders of countries such as Spain and Italy.

In 2018, an estimated 140,000 people came to Europe by land and ocean, as indicated in the Desperate Journeys Report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These are people in search of a better future, away from the violence they have suffered in their country.

The Mediterranean route has been used the most by refugees entering Europe in recent years. Migrants are left in the hands of traffickers and embark on risky travels without any guarantees from northern Africa.

These boats often exceed their maximum capacity in unstable conditions. More than 2,000 people are said to have died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2018 and, therefore, it is impossible to know the precise number of travellers.

The European Union has not reached an agreement on how to aid or take any measures in assuring security to the migrants.

 

The Origin of The Refugees

Two-thirds of all the refugees in the world come from five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Burma, and Somalia. Except for the refugees from Rohingya in Burma, the rest are escaping conflicts in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

Syria continues to be the country with the highest number of displacements as due to the civil war which has caused 500,000 deaths and forced more than 6.4 million to flee.

According to the latest research by the UNHCR, Turkey intakes the highest number of refugees: 3.7 million, followed by Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, and Iran.

Germany is the only European country that appears in the top ten. It has accepted almost one million refugees.

Feature developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Communication and International Relations Blanquerna-URL

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