Sunday, September 13, 2015

What History Can Teach Us About The Worst Refugee Crisis Since WWII

"European states were the architects of the modern refugee regime."

Charlotte Alfred World Reporter, The Huffington Post

Posted: 09/12/2015 10:24 AM EDT
Credit: ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/Getty Images Nearly half a million people fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty have reached Europe this year.

Every week, The WorldPost asks an expert to shed light on a topic driving headlines around the world. Today, we speak with Alexander Betts, Director of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre.

The thousands of men, women and children streaming through the borders of Europe have finally drawn the world's attention to a historic crisis.

The United Nations first warned over a year ago that more people around the world had been forcibly displaced than at any time since World War II. That figure has since risen from 51 million people to almost 60 million. The main reason behind the spike in refugees is four years of brutal war in Syria, the U.N. says. 

Europe has struggled to muster a response. Germany is among a few countries who have have been willing to welcome a substantial number of refugees and sought a common European strategy to deal with the crisis. Other nations have locked down their borders, crammed refugees into transit camps, and said they won't take in Muslims, creating alarming echoes of the past for WWII historians and Holocaust survivors

In the aftermath of the World War II refugee crisis, the world set up the first legal protection regime for refugees and created a plethora of multinational organizations to assist refugees and migrants. Alexander Betts, Director of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre and a Professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, laid out five history lessons for dealing with the refugee crisis in a Guardian column this week. The WorldPost spoke to Betts about whether the refugee crisis after WWII might shed light on the crisis in Europe today.

Credit: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/Getty Images Many migrants and refugees first reach Europe on makeshift boats from Turkey to the Greek islands.
Does Europe’s response to the current refugee crisis look pretty lackluster by comparison to the efforts after WWII?

There are more people displaced around the world than at any time since the Second World War, and Syria alone is the largest refugee crisis in a generation.
Until recently, the dominant assumption in Europe was that refugee issues primarily affected other parts of the world. Europe has faced large refugee movements during, for example, the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts of the 1990s. However, this is the first time in its history that Europe has faced a mass influx of refugees from outside the region.

The existing Common European Asylum System was not designed for such a situation. With the notable exception of Germany, few European countries emerge with much credit. Although this is gradually changing, there has been a lack of political leadership and moral courage. Over 2,700 people have died this year at Europe’s borders and a lot of this would have been preventable with more urgency and better political choices.
 What lessons can we learn from the WWII crisis that could be applicable today? 

 There is a lot to be learned from history. European states were the architects of the modern refugee regime. They negotiated the 1951 Refugee Convention in the aftermath of the Holocaust. It is a legacy we should be proud of and seek to preserve.  It was a moment at which Europe collectively understood that people fleeing persecution should have a right to seek refuge in order to access fundamental human rights.  
This is the first time in its history that Europe has faced a mass influx of refugees from outside the region.
However, I also think there are other more recent historical lessons that are important today. For example, from 1975 on literally millions of Vietnamese refugees fled to South-East Asian states. Many drowned as boats were pushed back. But in both 1979 and 1989, international agreements were made such that some 1.8 million people were resettled around the world. The key was international cooperation; recognizing that refugee protection is a shared, global responsibility.

Yet some refugees languished without help for years after WWII ended. Is it unfair to expect Europe to respond immediately today?

It’s true that many refugees did not receive immediate support after the Second World War. But I do not think we have the same excuses today. We have learned a lot over the last 70 years.

Around the world, a neglected tragedy that is poorly understood is the situation of protracted displacement. Over half the world’s refugees have been in exile for at least five years, many in closed refugee camps where they do not have the right to work or move freely. This leads to an unacceptable waste of humanity. We should be recognizing that, with the right policies, refugees have skills, talents and aspirations, and the ability to contribute socially and economically. We should not be leaving people in limbo.

Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Some activists have called for a humanitarian corridor so that refugees don't have to sneak across borders.

Despite the huge efforts after WWII, there was nationalist and anti-Semitic backlash at the time. Do you see any parallels with the responses of far-right or anti-Muslim attitudes in Europe today?

From the start of the Syria crisis, there has been inadequate willingness to resettle Syrian refugees. The unspoken reason for this has been fear of admitting large numbers of Muslims.

In Europe today, many people have a fear of immigration and terrorism. But there is a small but growing element of latent fascism. In many countries far-right parties are influencing the political agendas of mainstream parties. There is a genuine risk of a backlash over time, and it’s very important that politicians show leadership in countering xenophobic narratives.

You’ve written about the increase in “survival migration” -- people fleeing for their lives but who don’t match the traditional definition of refugees. Is the refugee protection system that was set up after WWII still fit for purpose today?
It is very important that we protect the distinctive rights of refugees and that we safeguard the 1951 Convention. If we tried to renegotiate that framework, it’s unlikely we would get such a good deal for refugees today.
Refugees have skills, talents and aspirations, and the ability to contribute socially and economically. We should not be leaving people in limbo.
However, it is also worth recognizing that the nature of cross-border displacement is changing, particularly with climate change, state fragility, and food insecurity, for example. Increasingly, people will flee for reasons that are not captured by the existing refugee regime's focus on "persecution." It will therefore inevitably become necessary to develop new policies and laws to provide protection for a broader category of "survival migrants."

 In order to absorb growing numbers, though, we will need creative policies that rethink the nature of protection and assistance. These will include recognizing the capacities rather than just the vulnerabilities of refugees. To be sustainable, we will need to help people to help themselves, integrate them into the global economy, and empower them to make an economic contribution. For example, Uganda has adopted a Self-Reliance Strategy that gives refugees the right to work and significant freedom of movement. In our research, we've been able to show these kinds of policies can lead to better outcomes for refugees and host communities.

Credit: Giannis Papanikos/ASSOCIATED PRESS Thousands of refugees braved torrential downpours to continue their long march to northern Europe this week. 

Does the current refugee crisis challenge the whole post-WWII idea of a European community, considering how difficult it has been for these nations to define a common policy on refugees, migration or border controls?

As has been widely acknowledged, this is a defining moment for the European Union. Key European values, such as regional cooperation and respect for human rights, are under threat.
To be effective in this area, the EU has to come up with an approach based on collective action. It needs a refugee policy to share responsibility within Europe and to support refugee protection globally.
However, it is struggling to either come up with a shared policy vision or to build political consensus around that vision. Angela Merkel has shown remarkable leadership, and a core group of countries are now working together. However, a number of other countries are refusing to cooperate and are instead pursuing unilateral strategies.


The creator of the Syrian misery the Israel Nazi bazstard are fenceing around its boundary. Why now, what was wrong with the GOD gifted bountry? Was it because it was without a mother's vagina and a father's penis to fuck and sodomize by the mother fucker Netanyahu the leader of the Israel ZIONIST.

Does he know that this fencing is not going to be enough to protect him and his so cal Zionist bastard from the clasp of the Frankenstien that he created. US Intelligence organization is already in a horns of a dilema with regard to its exact position with ISIS.

This fencing would make it easy to catch all individual Zionist Axis of evil in on concentrated place Israel and proceed with cool surgical operation without any hitch and fatigue because they all would be in one location. they would have no in no out path except again out through the sea same used by the immigrants.

This is called the signs and symptoms of GOD'S chess game the "SIN and the SINNER"

The immigrants are to day in difficulties but not for ever and when the Israel would be in trouble there would be none not even the US and Jews. Only because of the Nazi Bastard NTANYAHU, Boehner, Mitch MacConnel, their US lawmaker supporters and the ZIONISTS of the world's treacherous activities and committal of Genocide by Netanyahu

Having said about Israel it is not enough, there are countries like that bloody terrorist country Israel say Holland. Once upon a time it was reputed to be a nice cultured country but with the passage of time it has became a wolfish country. One would not be wrong to term the country to be totally Inhuman bastard country. so was initially UK too.

It would be useless to name countries but the main thing to remember that GOD has uncovered the Heart and souls of all the countries as to how big heart nations are those who all  behaved inhumanly with human beings in morbid difficulties. 

Animals do not behave the way the Hollanders behave with the migrants. They behaved like dogs with a bone in front of them.

What better description can be given of  a son of a bastard the PM of Holland the way he behaved and uttered words proved he was not a human being but worse than a dirty filthy pig.

It is to day clear who is who. Everybody seem overtly to be the exponent of Human Rights but covertly at heart of heart they are Butchers of the highest order. 

If any has the guts then come forward and deny the charge with evidence. 

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