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08 February 2016

A Plan for Europe’s Refugees

A European problem demands a common, coherent EU policy. Let refugees in, but regulate the flow, says the Economist.

Refugees are reasonable people in desperate circumstances. Life for many of the 1 million-odd asylum-seekers who have fled Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries for Europe in the past year has become intolerable. Europe is peaceful, rich and accessible. Most people would rather not abandon their homes and start again among strangers. But when the alternative is the threat of death from barrel-bombs and sabre-wielding fanatics, they make the only rational choice.

Read on


A woman sits on the base of a palm tree in Ghoramara after seawater deluged a rice plantation. Photo: Jordi Pizarro / Foreign Policy

Waiting to Vanish

As their land disappears into the sea, villagers in the Bay of Bengal are struggling to keep their livelihoods. Photographer Jordi Pizarro travelled to Ghoramara island, 90 miles south of Kolkata, for Foreign Policy to document how the villagers are coping with forces beyond their control.

“We are used to seeing images of global warming as an environmental crisis — the glaciers melting, for example,” he says. “I wanted to show how climate change is affecting human beings, particularly in this small place.”

Between 1968 - 1999, Ghoramara, which sits in the Bay of Bengal’s Sundarbans delta, lost 75 percent of its territory to encroaching water, according to the UN. Since then, rising sea levels and coastal erosion have only magnified the consequences of flooding.

Today, with less than three square miles of landmass left, Ghoramara may soon follow in the footsteps of four other islands in the delta, if its inhabitants are forced to flee for good.

Read on


Migration in the News

  • The Guardian interviewed IOM DG William Lacy Swing at the Syria pledging conference in London. He welcomed the generosity of the donor community, but noted that aid is only part of the solution.

  • Sputnik reported comments by Swing that the EU must speed up implementation of its program to relocate 63,000 refugees, mainly from Greece and Italy. Fewer than 300 have been relocated so far.

  • Al Jazeera  reported that, according to IOM, over 74,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece and Italy so far this year.

  • Die WELT reported on growing numbers of migrants choosing to return home from Germany, especially to Iraq.

  • Voice of America reported comments by UN Special Representative for International Migration Peter Sutherland that he is alarmed at the growing hostility and xenophobic sentiments European politicians have expressed about people fleeing war and persecution.

  • AFP reported that two migrant women froze to death in a mountainous rural region of Bulgaria on route to Western Europe.

  • A Guardian Op-Ed argued that by blurring the distinction between genuine refugees and economic migrants, liberals let their governments off the hook.

  • A Huffington Post blog discussed the integration and human development of vulnerable migrants in the USA.

  • DW reported that Austria has asked the European Commission for EUR 600 million to cover unbudgeted costs associated with housing and caring for asylum seekers.

  • A Huffington Post blog by an Amnesty International staffer described horrific conditions in a camp for some 3,000 migrants and refugees adjacent to suburban homes in the northern French town of Dunkirk.

  • Today’s Zaman told the story of three Syrian child refugees from Aleppo sewing T-shirts in an Istanbul sweatshop to pay for their risky journey to Germany.

  • EFE reported that Costa Rica has announced that direct flights to Mexico will begin for stranded Cuban migrants on their way to the United States.

  • Sudan’s Radio Dabanga reported that people are continuing to flee fighting in the Jebel Marra area that straddles North, Central and South Darfur states to take refuge in North and Central Darfur.

  • Pakistan’s The News ran an opinion piece on the correlation between falling oil prices and remittances sent home by Pakistani workers in the Gulf.

Trending on the Internet

  • Hindustan Times reported the story of an Indo-Canadian citizen and her friends who are forming groups to sponsor refugees to come to Canada.

  • Al Jazeera reported from Mayotte, one of four islands in the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean belonging to France. Since 1995, thousands of irregular migrants from other islands have drowned trying to reach it in small boats in search of better lives.

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
For other information please contact the IOM Media & Communications team here