UN warns of refugee avalanche, Europe in a bind


At a time when the ongoing refugee influx into Europe has left the world floundering for solutions, the United Nations has come out with its latest report, saying over 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean sea into Europe over the next year or so. Calling for more concrete policies to deal with the growing number of refugees, the UNHCR said that many are refugees from Syria who are making the voyage as the fighting intensifies in the violence-torn country.

As Europe is trying to come out with a uniform policy for refugees, the US has been facing the heat from human rights organizations for not doing enough to welcome refugees into the US. Currently, the US allows 1,500 people from Syria which is abysmally low and there are calls to accommodate more than a lakh refugees. The US has also been criticised for not being able to stop the war in Syria.

“In 2015, UNHCR anticipates that approximately 400,000 new arrivals will seek international protection in Europe via the Mediterranean. In 2016 this number could reach 450,000 or more,” the UNHCR said in an appeal document. Germany has been taking in the maximum number of refugees and has asked other European counties to share in accommodating the refugees. Germany alone expects 800,000 asylum applications this year, including those who have crossed the Mediterranean.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked Europe to implement a joint system for dealing with asylum seekers and agree to binding quotas on how to distribute refugees across the continent. “This joint European asylum system cannot just exist on paper but must also exist in practice. I say that because it lays out minimum standards for accommodating refugees and the task of registering refugees,” said Chancellor Merkel.

With the world struggling to find a consensus on how to accommodate the refugees, Europe faces the maximum brunt in accommodating these refugees. Europe will need support from not just the entire continent to accommodate refugees but would also need help from the US, Japan, Australia and other Asian powers to help find a solution.

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