News / Europe

    Refugee Crisis Threatens European Unity, UN Official Says

    FILE - Afghan refugees sleep next to razor-wire barrier at the Serbian side of Hungary's border fence with Serbia, Sept. 17, 2015.
    FILE - Afghan refugees sleep next to razor-wire barrier at the Serbian side of Hungary's border fence with Serbia, Sept. 17, 2015.
    Lisa Schlein

    A senior United Nations official warned that Europe's hardening attitude toward refugees and migrants is threatening the unity of the European alliance.

    Peter Sutherland, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative for international migration, said he is alarmed at the growing hostility and xenophobic sentiments European politicians have expressed about people fleeing war and persecution.

    The nationalistic and racist slogans heard since refugees began sweeping across Europe are deplorable, he said.

    FILE - Peter Sutherland, special representative of the United Nations Secretary general for migration and development, addresses a news conference on the current migrants crisis in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 8, 2015.FILE - Peter Sutherland, special representative of the United Nations Secretary general for migration and development, addresses a news conference on the current migrants crisis in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 8, 2015.
    x
    FILE - Peter Sutherland, special representative of the United Nations Secretary general for migration and development, addresses a news conference on the current migrants crisis in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 8, 2015.
    FILE - Peter Sutherland, special representative of the United Nations Secretary general for migration and development, addresses a news conference on the current migrants crisis in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 8, 2015.

    After the collapse of the Iron Curtain a quarter-century ago, seen at the time as the end of a Europe divided by borders, the U.N. official said it is particularly sad to see razor-wire fences reappearing at some border areas to bar immigrants.

    "The recreation of borders challenges the whole integration of the European Union,” Sutherland said. “More particularly, it challenges the moral responsibility of states to help refugees to provide asylum."

    Far-reaching concerns

    Sutherland’s concerns extend to the wider migrant community, since focusing exclusively on refugees overlooks the desperate needs of what he calls "survival migrants." These include people escaping famine, poverty, natural disasters and other severe challenges that are putting their lives at risk.

    These people, too, deserve asylum, the migration chief said.

    Sutherland said he was astonished that a conference for Syrian refugees in London on Thursday brought in pledges of $10 billion in assistance. That money, he said, will provide better health, education and, in many cases, jobs for many thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

    The pledges of international support will make life more tolerable for the four million Syrians living in these frontline states, but Sutherland told VOA he does not believe it will stem the flow of refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe.

    "I do not think that the flow of migrants into Greece from Turkey or from other points in the Mediterranean is going to be substantially altered,” he said. “That flow will continue. So there are people — many — who will want to get to Europe."

    Benefit of influx

    New estimates from the International Organization of Migration bear this out: More than 74,500 Mediterranean migrants so far have arrived in Italy and Greece, a record number for this time of year.

    With a population of more than one-half billion, Sutherland said Europe can easily absorb more than one million refugees and migrants. Furthermore, he added, given falling birth rates in Europe, a tide of migrants could benefit the entire region.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jay Borgnine from: Real world
    February 07, 2016 9:41 PM
    "With a population of more than one-half billion, Sutherland said Europe can easily absorb more than one million refugees and migrants. Furthermore, he added, given falling birth rates in Europe, a tide of migrants could benefit the entire region."

    Well he can see with his own eyes whether thats true or not

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 05, 2016 7:53 PM
    The Syrian war that's causing the majority of the displaced migrant problem that's overwhelming Europe and the tens of millions of suffering and dying innocent Syrians would ease and end in weeks or months (if only) the US, NATO and their Sunni Muslim allies would quit arming and equipping the terrorist groups that they are supporting to overthrow the Shia Muslim led government of Assad and Syria?

    Why must tens of millions of innocent Syrians suffer and die or become displaced homeless migrants just because the US, NATO and their Sunni Muslim allies want to replace the Shia Muslim Assad and his government with an unelected handpicked Sunni Muslim president and government? .. Instead of fighting to defeat the terrorist groups, the US, NATO and their Sunni Muslim allies are arming and equipping the terrorist groups to overthrow Assad and the Syrian government? .. The world can only hope? .. Obama only has one year left in his term as president? .. And the next US president might not care if Assad stays or goes, because he or she might want to join with the Russians to defeat the Terrorists worldwide? .. Pray?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora