Is the international community failing refugees?

Wars and persecution are driving more people from their homes than at any time since records began. According to a report published by the UN Refugee Agency on Monday, 65.3 million people were forced to leave their home country last year. One year earlier the figure was 59.5 million. Commentators take the international community to task.

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Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Money for fences but not for refugees

The fact that so many people are forced to flee highlights the failure of the international community, the daily paper taz comments:

“It has failed not just in preventing, defusing and ending wars but it has also failed miserably when it comes to managing their consequences. For a long time now the aid organisations have been complaining about a 'Syria effect': international attention is focussed on the major conflict in the Middle East while other crises causing a similar amount of human suffering, above all those in Africa, are being forgotten. This means that fewer resources are being mobilised to help the victims. … Nowadays migration control increasingly takes priority when it comes to spending funds. While the UN is recording record numbers of refugees, the EU is announcing record spending on stopping those refugees by every means possible. There's plenty of money for fences and prisons but not enough for aid.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Bullets instead of solidarity

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Turkish border guards killed at least eight refugees on the border with Syria on Sunday night. Ankara has denied the accusations. Europe should not trust Turkey, Avvenire warns:

“The deadly shots that killed the Syrian refugees became a tragic symbol for yesterday's World Refugee Day. … The deal the EU reached with Turkey isn't working. Far too few Syrians have been resettled in Europe. Moreover the deal is claiming many human lives because it is forcing the refugees towards Egypt and leaving them trapped in a kind of limbo that stretches from Greece to the Balkan gates of Fortress Europe. A limbo of precarious camps and a paradise for criminals and human traffickers. … Considering the number of refugees, the deal with Ankara is dishonourable for Europe. It testifies to the political weakness of the EU, to hypocrisy and to dissension among the governments.”