According to the UN high commission for refugees there were 43.7 million refugees and people displaced within their country by events such as war and natural disasters at the end of last year. More than half of the total are children. The report also reveals that there has been a fall in the number of returning refugees to 197,600, the lowest in two decades. The agency has also estimated that there are 12 million stateless people around the world.
Developing countries host 80% of the world's refugee population. Pakistan leads the rankings with 1.9 million people, followed by Iran and Syria, who host more than a million. Germany is fourth with 600,000 with the UK coming in tenth with 238,000 registered refugees, 26,000 fewer than the US in 9th place.
UNHCR UK spokesman Mans Nyberg said "Europe has the impression that the industrialised countries are being flooded. But the flood is into poorer countries. They can't cope."
One of the central fallacies, peddled by the gutter press, is that the asylum seekers to the UK are trying to get access to a “soft touch” welfare system. The report Understanding the Decision Making of Asylum Seekers refutes welfare as a basic motive for travelling around the world to come to another country. The majority of respondents had little or no knowledge of the UK welfare system (at most they had a vague idea that they would be “looked after”.) The report notes that “most wanted to find a job and did not want to live on state benefits.”
The chaos of global politics and repression drives the need to migrate, a global chaos born of the struggle between rival capitalist bands to access and monopolise the wealth of the world. The answer to people fleeing conflict, deprivation and brutal regimes is to remove the root causes. The problems we face are not caused by workers from other parts of the world migrating to this part, but by the capitalist system of class ownership and production for profit. Those travelling long distances through fear or desperation are people no different to ourselves. Why should something as arbitrary as where one is born determine where one is allowed to live? A sensible society would have no concept of refugeehood.