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GEDDA: In the absence of a protected and legal passage to Europe, refugees fleeing war, poverty and persecution in their house countries often come upon barbed wire, suspicion and open up hostility when they land on the doorstep of the EU.

For many yrs now, the plight of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe has divided public view, elevating conflicting narratives about compassion and national identification, even though increasing problems about security and counter-terrorism.

These divisions had been introduced to the fore in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, Sudanese, Eritreans and other nationalities embarked on the perilous journey to Europe by land or sea, frequently with the aid of traffickers.

Numerous of these debates resurfaced in the final months of 2021 soon after tens of countless numbers of people today, largely from the Middle East, arrived at the Belarus-Poland border, camping on the frigid forest frontier in the vain hope of crossing in excess of to Europe.

In early December, Poland shut its borders by building a 115-mile extensive fortified wall, which is envisioned to be concluded by June this yr at a cost of nearly $ 300 million.

Fortified border partitions started to seem right after the 2015 refugee influx, primarily from the Center East. The Hungarian wall by itself value the EU more than € 1 billion.

A European Union flag flies behind barbed wire in the new shut migrant center on the Greek island of Kos on November 27, 2021. (AFP)

Very similar fortifications have sprung up in Slovenia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Spain and France, all with the goal of trying to keep migrants out.

The EU has absent from just two walls following the drop of the Berlin Wall to 15 by 2017, the equivalent of six Berlin partitions. These new boundaries reflect a typical tightening of views towards refugees in Europe.


* 26.6 million – Refugees globally in mid-2021.

* .6 per cent – Proportion of the EU inhabitants who are refugees. (UNHCR)

In which European leaders as soon as viewed it as a humanitarian responsibility to welcome refugees, numerous now consider absent political capital from the challenging speak about unlawful immigration. In the procedure, the problem of migration separated from the calamities that led them to flee.

“It is really dehumanizing to say the least,” Wafa Mustafa, a Syrian journalist, activist and refugee residing in Germany, informed Arab News. “We can not speak about refugees without the need of speaking about why they grew to become refugees.”

Mustafa’s father Ali, a Syrian human legal rights activist, was arrested in July 2013 before disappearing into Bashar Assad’s infamous prison system. Some 130,000 men and women are considered to be detained in the regime’s prisons, where by they allegedly experienced torture and sexual abuse.

“We can’t ignore the simple fact that there are forces that thrust people to risk their life, and that of their children and cherished types, who are much more hard than staying left to die at the borders,” Mustafa explained.

“I feel the way the EU has dealt with people stranded on its borders is a crime. We have listened to of illegal entry as a crime, but I imagine not letting people today to cross borders and letting them die is the actual crime. “

Mustafa thinks that European politicians refuse to tackle the situation simply because “they would have to facial area the simple fact that they have failed in their work and the intercontinental community has unsuccessful to deal with the problem, in the scenario of Assad’s Syrian dictatorship”.

A member of the British isles Border Power (R) aids migrant kids on a beach front in Dungeness on the south east coast of England on 24 November 2021 just after being rescued whilst crossing the English Channel. (AFP)

Witnessing this rush to fortify its borders, lots of could be forgiven for contemplating that the financial and social burden of the world-wide refugee crisis has fallen mostly on Europe. Absolutely nothing could be further more from the truth.

As the United Nations refugee company UNHCR generally points out, 85% of the world’s 26.6 million refugees (as of mid-2021) are hosted in neighboring nations around the world or in other places in building areas.

Turkey, for instance, has additional refugees in just its borders than any other country – additional than 3.5 million, or 43 for each 1,000 of its citizens. Jordan has nearly 3 million, when little Lebanon is home to 1.5 million: extra than 13 refugees for each and every 100 Lebanese.

In distinction, about 2.65 million refugees dwell out of a population of 447 million in the EU.

Immediately after Globe War II, European states signed a collection of treaties aimed at defending the legal rights of refugees, together with the 1951 Refugee Conference, the 1967 Protocol relating to the Position of Refugees and the 1980 European Arrangement on the transfer. accountability for refugees.

In spite of these commitments, European leaders and sections of the media have as an alternative designed crude narratives of “deserving” and “unworthy” migrants to justify the displacement of refugees.

“This is a harmful narrative,” Mustafa reported. “We have to have to appear at them as human beings, hear their tales and present them with means to deal with the reasons they came to Europe.”

Migrants aiming to enter Poland are seen in a camp near the Bruzgi-Kuznica border crossing on the Belarusian-Polish border on November 17, 2021. (AFP)

Abdulazez Dukhan, initially from Homs in western Syria, arrived in Greece in 2015 when he was only 17 yrs aged. It was there, even though confined to one of the country’s overcrowded camps, that a volunteer gave him a digicam.

What commenced as a hobby soon made into a distinguished profession as a photographer when he eventually settled in Belgium.

An exhibition of photographs by Dukhan entitled “50 People”, held late last yr in Brussels, set out to problem the scapegoat of migrants and refugees, while demonstrating the positive contribution they make to multicultural societies.


Leading 5 nationalities of to start with-time asylum seekers in the EU (2020)

1. Syrian 63,600

2. 44,285 Afghans

3. Venezuelan 30,325

4. Colombian 29,055

5. Iraqis 16,275

* Resource: European Fee / Eurostat

“Their backstories have manufactured them who they are, but I really don’t dwell on their past,” Dukhan instructed Arab News. “I emphasis on their present, answering moral arguments in the most refined way. Forget about wars and conflicts and emphasis on now. These are their real stories ”.

Those people opposed to welcoming refugees normally argue that they pose a burden to the economy by accepting careers and decreasing wages or stealing point out alms. Nonetheless, studies have revealed that societies with shrinking working-age populations have a tendency to advantage from the arrival of young migrants.

A 2021 doing the job paper from the IMF, entitled “The Impression of Worldwide Migration on Inclusive Development,” outlined some of the prolonged-term rewards of welcoming immigrants.

“International migration is each a obstacle and an option for vacation spot international locations,” wrote its authors.

“On the one particular hand, particularly in the limited phrase, immigrants can build difficulties in local labor markets, potentially impacting wages and replacing some indigenous staff who compete with them. Their arrival could also impose a small-expression fiscal value ”.

Nonetheless, the report states that “especially in the medium and prolonged time period, immigrants can enhance manufacturing, build new alternatives for nearby organizations and indigenous workers, deliver competencies and competences important for development, generate new suggestions, promote global trade and contribute to prolonged-term fiscal equilibrium, creating the age distribution of state-of-the-art nations far more well balanced ”.

Nevertheless, there is nevertheless a notion in a lot of European international locations that newcomers just take far more than they add. In fact, migrants acquire minor assistance from the condition, forcing them to do the job hard to enhance their situation.

“EU procedures have built it difficult for immigrants and refugees by placing labels on them. But that hasn’t deterred them, ”Dukhan claimed.

A baby is rescued by customers of the Spanish NGO Maydayterraneo aboard the Aita Mari lifeboat though rescuing about 90 migrants in the open sea off the Libyan coast of the Mediterranean. (AFP)

“Those who are coming have perform experience, levels and have been critical users of their former communities and want to do the exact in their new houses. While their degrees may well indicate practically nothing in the new country, numerous will not stand by. They will get up, review, do odd jobs and more ”.

In spite of the prospective positive aspects of immigration, numerous Europeans keep on being troubled by the influx of foreigners. Via his exhibition, Dukhan hopes to obstacle myths and misconceptions about migrants and refugees and clearly show them in a additional sincere light-weight.

“They are not miserable people,” Dukhan mentioned. “The media performed an significant function in portraying them and downgrading them to a social experiment, putting them in a bubble for scrutiny and ridicule.”

As Europe strengthens its borders and anti-immigrant sentiment carries on to locate favor, reversing these deep-seated perceptions might show less complicated mentioned than performed.

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