PRINT ME subscribe
Unable to see images? Click here Comments/questions:
15 February 2016

Migrants and refugees at Horgos on the Serbia-Hungary border (File photo). © Francesco Malavolta 2015

The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth

Sweden - Little Sweden has taken in far more refugees per capita than any country in Europe. But in doing so, it’s tearing itself apart, writes James Traub in Foreign Policy.

When the refugee crisis began last summer, about 1,500 people were coming to Sweden every week seeking asylum. By August, the number had doubled. In September, it doubled again. In October, it hit 10,000 a week, and stayed there even as the weather grew colder. A nation of 9.5 million, Sweden expected to take as many as 190,000 refugees, or 2 percent of the population — double the per capita figure projected by Germany, which has taken the lead in absorbing the vast tide of people fleeing the wars in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere.

The Swedish Migration Agency in Malmo, the southern port city on the border with Denmark, is on the front line of the crisis. When Traub visited in November 2015, hundreds of refugees, who had been bused in from the train station, queued up outside in the chill to be registered, or sat inside waiting to be assigned a place for the night. Two rows of white tents had been set up in the parking lot to house those for whom no other shelter could be found. Hundreds of refugees had been put in hotels a short walk down the highway, and still more in an auditorium near the station.

Read on

Video grab from Channel 4 News

Ai Weiwei Has Made A Stunning Art Project About Refugees In Germany

Germany - The Chinese artist has wrapped the columns of a Berlin concert hall in life vests used by desperate refugees trying to reach European shores, writes David Mack for Buzzfeed.

For months, China’s most acclaimed contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei, has been working on the Greek islands that are the arrival point for thousands of refugees that have poured into Europe over the past year.

On Saturday (13/2), the artist unveiled a new work dealing with the refugee crisis. His team wrapped the columns of the Berlin Concert Hall in life vests used by migrants who went on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

Read on  |  Watch the Channel 4 News video



Migration in the News

  • Xinhua reported that the participants at this weekend’s Munich Security Conference called for action and solidarity in coping with Europe’s most significant refugee crisis since the Second World War.

  • Sputnik reported that DG Swing welcomed the peace initiative put forward at the International Syrian Support Group session in Munich. He said a reduction in migration flows would "give Europe a chance to put in place a more comprehensive, a longer term migration and asylum policy."

  • Euranet Plus reported that the EU wants Turkey to admit Syrian refugees trapped on its border, but to control the number of migrants it allows to travel to Greece, according to a European Commission report on the situation of refugees in Turkey.

  • Reuters and Telegraph UK reported that thousands of Iraqi refugees who arrived in Finland last year have decided to withdraw their asylum applications and to return home voluntarily, citing family issues and disappointment with life in Scandinavia.

  • New York Times reported that Turkey’s coastal city of Izmir has become a final resting place for hundreds of refugees who fled wars in the Middle East, but drowned in the Aegean on route to Europe.

  • CNN reported that more refugees and migrants have braved wintry seas to reach Europe so far this year than in the first four months of 2015, with the proportion of children increasing, according to UNHCR.

  • Reuters reported that a section of the cemetery on the Greek island of Lesbos reserved for hundreds of mostly unidentified drowned migrants has run out of space.

  • Voice of America and EU Observer reported that the EU has given Greece a 3-month ultimatum to fix “deficiencies” in controlling its borders or face suspension from the Schengen passport-free zone.

  • Daily Beast ran an opinion piece by Maajid Nawaz on the rise of PEGIDA - a Europe-wide anti-immigration mass movement.

  • Huffington Post reported that the Australian government is offering refugees incentives to leave Nauru and return home or to a third country.

  • Vatican Radio reported that Bangladesh, with IOM’s help, has begun a survey of Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled persecution in Myanmar.

Trending on the Internet

  • The Guardian reported that the Australian population is expected to tick over to 24 million on Tuesday (16/2), with more than half of that growth driven by new migrants.

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