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(1). At this time, 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 who are fleeing conflict, persecution and violence.
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.
The majority of refugees we meet come from Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrean, Iraq and Iran. The Global Peace Index lists the 28 most dangerous countries in the world and all of these are included(4) – indeed, Afghanistan is ranked as number two and South Sudan as number three; they are fleeing the worst and most dangerous countries on this planet.
In Calais specifically, of the 7,400 people who were removed from the Jungle in 2016: 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 following detailed processing and investigation(5).