“A refugee is someone who survived and who can create the future.” – Amela Koluder

Refugees are not migrants! Refugees are people who flee their homeland because of persecution and to whom the denial of asylum could have deadly consequences. According to UNHCR as of January 2019, there are nearly 70.8 million refugees worldwide. In the current situation, the refugees are not being legally accepted. Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers end up becoming the victim of the harsh journey they face like that faced by Syrian refugees defecting to Europe. These refugees have certain rights under international and regional level laws. But still, nations such as Turkey deny the right to work to refugees. The concentration of refugees is uneven and unfair as Lebanon an underdeveloped country itself has refugees as 25% of its population. These refugees have no other option than to flee to nearby Europe in search of basic rights and financial wellbeing. The problem with refugees entering Europe is that the European governments do not make an easy legal procedure for refugees to enter the EU. These asylum seekers become easy targets for smugglers. Refugees risk their lives while making a near-impossible journey across the Mediterranean with the smugglers. This has led to the refugees seeking refuge in countries like Italy and Greece which has led to the economic situation getting worse in these already crisis laden countries.

Europe has made the legal entry of refugees difficult than ever before, this is the indirect violation of the 1951 refugee convention. The European Union itself clearly recognizes the right to asylum in the article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The problem with accepting refugees is that there is not a defined quota of refugees which a country is obliged to accept. So, the need is to establish a flexible quota for countries that will depend according to a country’s economic and political situation. The problem faced by counties like Germany which are accepting refugees is the protection of refugees. I believe the refugees can easily be protected with a basic three tier plan.

Tier 1: Protection through political process: Missions help to protect internally displaced refugees through maintenance of peace during the peace process or other political processes. The activities included in this tier include facilitation, mediation, support to reconciliation processes, and liaison between the negotiating parties.

Tier 2: Providing protection from physical violence: This tier includes the missions efforts to prevent, deter, and respond to situations in which refugees are under threat of physical violence. It includes patrolling, ensuring freedom of movement for humanitarians and the displaced, evacuation, public order management, conflict mediation, monitoring human rights, and political engagement. It is further sub-divided into four phases: assurance and prevention; pre-emption; response; and, consolidation.

Tier 3: Establishing a protective environment: This area of work comprises the promotion of legal protection and facilitation of humanitarian assistance. More specifically it includes the wide range of mission activities ranging from human rights monitoring and prevention and response to sexual violence against refugees who are considered vulnerable. Disarmament of people associated with hate crimes and the integration of refugees into society.

The protection of the children of refugees is important as they become easy targets for human traffickers. Primary education must be provided to the children and they too must have the right to apply for higher studies. The right to work must be upheld so that refugees can start earning a decent future. Keeping in mind the host nation’s point of view, refugees must be returned to their country of origin after peace and political stability is achieved and there is no longer a threat to the asylum seeker. If these refugees are well off and have a good education they can help in the nation-building process of their country of origin. At last, every nation must accept its fair share of refugees according to its capabilities and resources. This must happen to prevent the “overloading” of refugees in one place which leads to the development of a new economic and social crisis.

By: Ekamjot Singh

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