Reflections on International Refugee Day

On International Refugee Day, celebrated on Tuesday, more than 65 million people were displaced worldwide. This dramatic and long-term situation must not be trivialised and reduced to a supposedly temporary state by the use of the term "crisis", commentators warn, and call on governments to take responsibility.

Open/close all quotes
Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

"Crisis" is a deadly euphemism

It is hypocritical and murderous to describe the phenomenon as temporary, Deutschlandfunk admonishes:

“Crisis: this term implies that somehow, at some point it will be over, that a turn for the better is close at hand, that we just have to hold out because things will soon improve. ... For example if we turn shady henchmen into Libyan coast guards, supply them with boats and weapons and have them do the dirty work for Europe. However, we're not dealing with dirt here but with people. ... In view of the situation in many places in the world - and with 65 million people fleeing their home country - it's quite normal that a number of them are seeking salvation in Europe. What is not normal, however, is how they arrive here. It's not normal that once again almost 2,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the year. That's what happens when you call migration a crisis.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Refugees make society fit

Taking in people from other cultures spurs a country on to do great things, guest author Nadia Boehlen of Amnesty International comments in Le Courrier:

“Could it be that for some of us the supposed impossibility of taking in more refugees hides the fear of having less? Less prosperity, less work, less housing, a school of lower quality for our children? However, if we think about it carefully, welcoming and integrating refugees will encourage us to improve the mechanisms for inclusion of the most vulnerable among us and to improve our educational, urban, social, and municipal policies. In short, welcoming refugees can only boost our competitiveness!”

Gość Niedzielny (PL) /

Poland must assume responsibility

Poland is right to criticise the EU's refugee policy but it should also offer a humane alternative, Gość Niedzielny advises:

“Just because Brussels has confused helping refugees with subjecting them to degrading forced transfers doesn't mean we can slam the door on those who are fleeing war and want to live among us. … Poland is right to defend itself against Brussels' blackmail tactics. But it is making a big mistake if in doing so it allows itself to be overcome by fear of foreigners. Poland, a large country with ambitions and a Christian tradition, should offer a humane alternative to the EU's quotas and forced transfers.”