Friday, July 07, 2017

Refugees are genuine in need

A report challenges the economic migrant myth, revealing that most of those making perilous sea crossing were forced from their homes by persecution and fear.

The vast majority of people arriving in Europe by sea are fleeing persecution, war, and famine, while less than a fifth are economic migrants. More than 80% of an estimated 1,008,616 arrivals in 2015 came from refugee-producing countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and a quarter of that number were children.
Researchers say the findings challenge the myth that migrants are coming to Europe for economic reasons.
Professor Brad Blitz, who led the research team, said: “Governments and certain media organisations perpetuate the myth that the ‘pull’ factors are stronger than the ‘push’ factors with economic reasons being the key catalyst – but we found the opposite. The overwhelming majority of people we spoke to were coming from desperately poor countries but also places where they were subject to targeted violence or other concerns around family security. They had no other option.”
War was the biggest “push”. One Syrian said: “I used to live with my wife in Idlib. We had a normal life there until the outbreak of war. Our house was bombed and we lost everything, we hadn’t any option but to leave.”
Judith Sunderland, of Human Rights Watch, said many of the refugees arriving by boat were from countries that were not naturally thought of as having protection needs. “Many are coming from Libya, which is a hellhole for migrants and asylum. It’s a country riddled with conflict and they face torture, forced labour and sexual violence. People go there to work but are later forced to flee by sea because of extreme abuses.” Sunderland added: “Everyone should have the right to apply for asylum and to have that application carefully examined.” But reception centres are overwhelmed by the numbers and only 10% of participants in the study had achieved refugee status.

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