Further on Syrian Refugees Fleeing to the West
by Daniel Pipes
Comprising updates on the article, "Let Refugees Remain in Their Own Culture Zones," which argues that Syrians should go to Saudi Arabia, not the West:
Oct. 2, 2013 update: António Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, has announced that 15 governments have accepted special quotas for Syrian refugees, including the American and many European ones. Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's commissioner for humanitarian affairs and crisis response, said that "We in Europe must not only keep our hearts and wallets open, but also our borders."
Comment: I await hearing her Saudi counterpart saying the same.
Nov. 15, 2013 update: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on the Greek and Bulgarian governments to stop turning back Syrians fleeing the civil war: "Push-backs and prevention of entry can put asylum-seekers at further risk and expose them to additional trauma," demanding an immediate secesation of such practices. Agence France Press notes that more than 10,000 Syrians and others have crossed illegally from Turkey into Bulgaria in 2013.
Also of interest: in response to Bulgarian plans to build a 30-kilometre fence by the Turkish border, a UNHCR spokesman stated that "Introducing barriers, like fences or other deterrents, may lead people to undertake more dangerous crossings and further place refugees at the mercy of smugglers."
Comments: (1) If the Syrian refugees have arrived safely to Turkey, why should further states admit them? They are no longer refugees in search of asylum. Or is this because Turkey does not count as a destination, only Christian-majority countries of Europe do?
(2) What a logic! Building defensive fences puts refugees at great risk of smugglers? How about they just don't try to enter Bulgaria illegally in the first place?
Nov. 26, 2013 update: I focused on culture in the above article; there is also the hygienic dimension. One third of the approximately 350 Syrian refugees treated in Israeli hospitals have been found to carry high levels of dangerous pathogens rare in Israel and resistant to antibiotics. The carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae bacteria, Israel Hayom reports,
Dec. 13, 2013 update: Amnesty International (AI) wants European Union member states to take in more Syrian refugees while not saying a word about Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states doing likewise. It published a scathing report titled "Fortress Europe: Syrian refugee shame exposed" and Salil Shetty, AI's secretary general, states that "The EU has miserably failed to play its part in providing a safe haven to the refugees who have lost all but their lives. The number of those it's prepared to resettle is truly pitiful. Across the board European leaders should hang their heads in shame.
Dec. 14, 2013 update: Another negative consequence of Syrian immigration to Europe: the boosting of neo-Nazi parties. Andrew Higgins explains developments in Svilengrad, Bulgaria, at "Far Right in Eastern Europe Makes Gains as Syrians Arrive":
Dec. 29, 2013 update: Syrian refugees in Turkey have brought 17 recently reported cases of polio to the country after an absence of 14 years and completely eradicated for 11 years.
Jan. 7, 2014 update: (1) Two important U.S. senators, Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Ted Cruz, have called for an increase in the number of Syrian refugees taken in by the United States.
(2) Figures from the British Home Office reveal that Great Britain has granted asylum to more than 2,000 Syrians since March 2011 and 1,500 of them since January 2013.
Jan. 10, 2014 update: About American actions, from the Wall Street Journal:
Another fact: More than 1,300 Syrians already in the U.S. applied for asylum during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013.
Jan. 12, 2014 update: UPI reports that "About 135,000 Syrian refugees have applied for asylum in the United States," a number quite at variance with the Wall Street Journal one just above.
Jan. 17, 2014 update: Speaking at the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the Syria-Bordering Countries on Friday, Guterres said that "Hosting Syrian refugees is not responsibility of only the bordering countries, all states should open their gates to Syrians fleeing the country."
Jan. 28, 2014 update: The maltreatment of Syrian refugees in North Africa symbolizes the problem I have raised: attempting to reach the sanctuary of Europe, they are abused in Algeria and Morocco. From an Associated Press report:
And then this charming piece of information: "In the past, when Morocco has caught Africans who entered from Algeria hoping to cross into Europe, it expelled them into the deserts along the border with Algeria."
Jan. 29, 2014 update: The British government has agreed to accept several hundred at-risk Syrian refugees. This comes on top of contributing about $1 billion in humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians and accepting about 3,500 asylum-seekers over the past three years. UNHCR described the move in a statement as "an encouraging and important step … in support of more than 2.3 million Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them," while Amnesty International called the move "long overdue."
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