Unhcr sees lesson Ukraine crisis
According to the president of the UN refugee agency, Europe’s acceptance of the millions of Ukrainians who fled Russia’s invasion demonstrated that it is possible to accommodate huge numbers of asylum seekers, and the strategy could be used to receive people fleeing other countries.
In an interview with The Associated Press, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi praised the EU’s response as “exemplary,” noting that since the war’s start nearly six months ago, nearly 4 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have registered with the EU’s temporary protection system.
That contrasts sharply with recent EU efforts to prevent migrants from the Middle East and Africa from reaching European coastlines.
Some European officials have attempted to draw a contrast between the plight of Ukrainian refugees and that of other refugees, which Grandi has called “racist.”
Why not apply some of these strategies to other people who are coming to knock on Europe’s doors if that is feasible for such a big number of people and has proven to be so successful?The largest refugee exodus the continent has witnessed since World War II, more than 6 million Ukrainians left their country in a matter of months, prompting the EU’s emergency protection system, which was established decades ago, to be triggered for the first time this year
It enables Ukrainians the freedom to roam throughout the bloc, the ability to work, and supports their access to housing, education, and healthcare.
It has been credited with preventing Europe from creating refugee camps for Ukrainians, similar to those that have long existed in Greece and frequently housed thousands of asylum seekers arriving by boat
Leaders built fences inside the EU to prevent many refugees from travelling further into the continent after the 2015–2016 refugee crisis, when more than 1 million individuals, mostly from Syria, arrived in Europe by land or water.
The union has also spent billions to prevent people from reaching its borders, including those who are escaping poverty and conflict as well as persecution, by funding nations like Turkey, Libya, and Morocco to intercept migrants before they leave.
According to Europe’s border and coast guard agency, the number of unauthorised crossings into Europe decreased from its high in 2015 to less than 200,000 in 2021, albeit they are increasing once more this year.
Even though such crossings frequently garner a lot of media attention, the UNHCR estimates that developing nations house more than 80% of all refugees worldwide
Government officials in Europe debated for hours or even days about who should board a boat carrying 100 people in the Mediterranean “Grandi spoke to the failure of European leaders to come to an agreement on how to resettle individuals who had recently landed in Greece, Italy, Malta, and Spain.
“On the other hand, millions of (Ukrainian) people were welcomed, accepted, and given effective access to services.
Grandi responded that he didn’t believe the actions of the European governments were racist when asked about the various answers. But he continued: “I have heard statements from some politicians that the Ukrainians are actual refugees… The others are not true refugees, either. Racist, that. Complete stop
Grandi didn’t clarify whose words he was referring to, but Greek Minister of Migration Notis Mitarachi came under fire from opposition MPs and human rights groups earlier this year when he used that phrase to describe Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.
Similar claims have been made by other European lawmakers. Some have argued that many asylum seekers are seeking a better life rather than escaping wars and may not be eligible for such protection under international law.