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REFUGEES' FATE IN THE HANDS OF TIMOROUS EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

For over 2.000 exhausted refugees, a long journey ended in Munich on Sunday.

 

BERLIN - On August 27th, Austrian authorities found a truck containing 71 migrants asphyxiated to death. This tragic event is one of many others that have been occurring since raging conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and other countries forced people to migrate. According to the BBC, about 280,000 migrants were detected at the EU’s borders in 2014, and more than 350,000 have been detected in  January-August 2015. Last weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a reunion of European interior ministers to adapt European asylum legislations to the political situation in North African and Middle Eastern countries.

 

Most of the asylum seekers – those who are fleeing civil wars, like Syrians, or poverty and human rights abuses like Afghans and Eritreans, or simply poor and marginalized areas like Nigeria or Kosovo – are heading to Germany, which expects to receive up to 800,000 asylum seekers this year. On her visit to a centre for asylum seekers in Heidenau in East Germany, Angela Merkel highlighted the importance of human and legal responsibility of Europeans in this peak of refugee migration. She called for the support of other European countries: together with France she nourishes the hope to finance refugee centers in Greece and Italy, diminish the traffic during transfers of refugees, and allocate the numbers of asylum seekers equally among European countries.

 

However, such resolution runs into different political and economical European situations: while Greece, Italy, Hungary, and Austria are overwhelmed with undesired migration waves from Middle Eastern and North African countries and have no choice but to let refugees freely pass through their territory and reach other parts of Europe, Great Britain is implementing measures to dissuade refugees from seeking asylum there and Poland refuses to accept asylum seekers who are not Christian. Refusing to see in these migration waves an intellectual and economical richness and fearing significant implications of unsuitable infrastructure and incompatible cultures, these countries are questioning the European Union’s fundamental principles: any citizen within the borderless “Schengen Area,” which includes much of Continental Europe, has the freedom to travel inside.

 

Germany is taking about 40 percent of new asylum seekers, while France is taking only 8 percent and Britain 4 percent. Last Thursday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that “we must reform the Dublin Convention immediately and find a way of creating binding and objective refugee quotas that take into account the ability of all member states to bear them.” This negotiated convention, together with the Schengen agreement, is not adapted to the current context, but in order to adapt it there needs to be a political consensus among European members. Moreover, Europeans could also read the refugee wave as a consequence to the West’s inability to handle conflicts in the Middle East.

 


"Displaced" follows three Syrians a graduate, a former student, and an ex-Syrian Army soldier who live in a makeshift camp on the Northern border of France, where they survive on the bare minimum, trying to cross to Britain every night.

"Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait", winner of the Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2015, is an on-the-ground documentary chronicle of the ordeal being undergone by ordinary Syrians in the ongoing civil war.

 

Angelina Jolie on the obligation of the UN to end the Syrian civil war or at least to help Syrian refugees:

Angelina Jolie on Middle East (Syria) - Security Council, 7433rd meeting

Angelina Jolie slams UN Security Council for Syria inaction.
Watch the video: http://mashable.com/2015/04/24/angelina-jolie-syria-refugees/