The human tide of displacement

Is there any logical reasoning to what is going on in our world? Let’s not be fooled, refugees are big business for people smugglers. War has its profits not just in armaments. If your home is being shelled or bombed and being peppered with bullets, would you stay? A look at hot spots in what the United Nations says has become the worst migration crisis since World War II.

Refugees wait to board a bus to the the train station where they will be taken for constant living in Russia from the refugee camp at Donetsk, Russia, Thursday August 21, 2014. (Photo Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times) NYTCREDIT:

Refugees wait to board a bus to the the train station where they will be taken for constant living in Russia from the refugee camp at Donetsk, Russia, Thursday August 21, 2014. (Photo Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times) NYTCREDIT:

Is there anyone out there who can, with credibility, condone the need to displace people in such a way they have to travel half the world to find peace and security for both themselves and their children, only to find more hatred? Politicians and governments talk incessantly yet never find any solution. So it is those who desperately seek a path away from war and death just find doors closed with no chance of a future. Some are fortunate, many are not.

Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees are working their way north through the Balkans.

Masses of migrants and refugees, many from Syria, Afghanistan and Kosovo, have been overwhelming border authorities in several Balkan countries as they try to reach Western Europe. The migrants travel in groups of just a few to dozens, moving north by bus, train, taxi or van. Serbian news media reported that some 70 buses of migrants entered the capital, Belgrade, on Sunday. Migrants in Macedonia told reporters that they were especially eager to move after Hungary said it planned to complete a fence along its 109-mile border with Serbia.

Balkan Migration Route

Balkan Migration Route

More than 40,000 people have crossed into Macedonia in the past two months.Last weekend, 7,000 people moved on to Serbia, according to the United Nations.

Syria’s neighbors have been making it harder for migrants to cross into their territories.

Years of violence in Iraq and Syria have stretched the capacities of neighboring countries to accommodate the displaced. In Jordan, unemployment has almost doubled since 2011 in areas with high concentrations of refugees, according to a recent International Labor Organization study. Lebanon began to require visas from Syrians in January. Refugees now make up about 20 percent of Lebanon’s population. In March, Turkey announced it would close the two remaining border gates with Syria.

About 12 million Syrians have been displaced, four million abroad, since 2011. In Iraq, more than three million have been displaced since December 2013. Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya, an ethnic minority from Myanmar, have fled from poverty and persecution. Indonesia and Malaysia, countries that in the past have quietly taken in many refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar, first reacted to the new rise in migrants by vowing to send back smugglers’ boats. Facing public pressure, they reversed their stance in mid-May, saying they would provide shelter to migrants still at sea. An absence of landings and a paucity of sightings suggest that the flow has subsided.

Instead of ending conflict the European Union wants to stop smugglers near the African coast. European governments are divided over the fates of those who reach shore.

In May, European leaders said they would form a naval force based in Italy to combat people-smuggling. The European Commission also appealed to the bloc’s member states to accept quotas of migrants to relieve the burden on southern states, like Italy and Greece, which are the main landing points. Poverty and war in places like Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria are driving migrants to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

Refugees warm near the fire as they wait for escort being detained by Hungarian police after crossing the Serbia-Hungaria birder outside Asotthalom, Hungary, Sunday August, 23, 2015. (Photo Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times) NYTCREDIT: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Refugees warm near the fire as they wait for escort being detained by Hungarian police after crossing the Serbia-Hungaria birder outside Asotthalom, Hungary, Sunday August, 23, 2015. (Photo Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times) NYTCREDIT: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

137,000 people migrated this year. 1,800 died in the sea. Civil war in Libya has made human trafficking easier.

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists has severely damaged Ukraine’s industrial belt.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled to Russia. But European Union countries, like Poland, Germany and Italy, which are among the top destinations for asylum seekers, have rejected most applications from Ukrainians. Less than a third of the $316 million needed in 2015 for the United Nations’ humanitarian response has been raised so far. The conflict was particularly damaging to Ukraine’s economy, which is expected to shrink 9 percent by the end of the year. September sees a Ukraine debt repayment of $500m to Russia mature. If the Ukraine defaults on this payment then a $3billion bond payment could result.

 

Sources: Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration

 

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