Why Do People Become Refugees?

Do they have a genuine need for asylum?

The majority of refugees we meet come from Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrean, Iraq, Iran and Syria. The Global Peace Index lists the 28 most dangerous countries in the world and all of these are included(1) – indeed, Afghanistan is ranked as number one, Syria as two, Iraq as three and South Sudan as number four;  these people are fleeing the worst and most dangerous countries on this planet.

The journeys that they make are both incredibly dangerous and horrifying, with thousands drowning crossing the Mediterranean, tales of shocking brutality and abuse on the Balkan route(2), and photographs of human slave markets and torture in Libya(3); it only makes sense that these are journeys made by people who have no choice.

In Calais, the one time its possible to say for certain who the people are was when 7,400 people were removed from the Jungle in 2016 and had their cases fully processed.  Then, significantly, 86% were officially recognised as refugees following detailed processing and investigation(4).

In 2016 millions of people were forcibly displaced around the world as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations according to the UN’s Refugee Agency(5).  This was the time when we saw a significant increase in people entering Europe from the Middle East and North Africa due to escalating conflicts in those areas. So it does make sense that most of those people would be genuine refugees fleeing conflict, persecution and violence.  Since 2016, the number of people fleeing to Europe has considerably dropped.

  1. http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/
  2. Joint Agency Briefing Paper – A Dangerous Game
  3. CNN Report – People For Sale
  4. Misery persists one year since Calais camp evacuation (note : 42% have had their asylum request accepted; 46% are still waiting for a response; and only 7% were rejected. In other words, of those who have had their cases fully processed, 86% have been officially recognised as refugees)
  5. UNCHR Global Trends Report
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