Emily Venturi

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Little Amal, a giant puppet depicting a Syrian refugee girl creating awareness on the urgent needs of young refugees, with a European Union flag at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images.

One month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union (EU) already faces its largest refugee crisis since World War Two, with more than ten million people having fled their homes – 6.5 million displaced within Ukraine and 3.9 million escaping to neighbouring countries.

Acting quickly and decisively, European governments have opened borders and European citizens have opened their homes in an unprecedented showing of solidarity towards refugees. But, with all eyes on Ukraine, the Greek coastguard continues to illegally push back asylum-seekers crossing from Turkey while Spanish police forcefully repel those who dare to jump the fence in Melilla.

The painful contrast exposes the double standards in the EU’s approach to refugees.…  Seguir leyendo »

Border guards stand next to migrants believed to be from Afghanistan sitting on the ground. Photo by WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images.

Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, European leaders shared messages to welcome those evacuated, but the reality of European responses to displacement in Afghanistan paints a more contentious picture.

As of July 2021, 33,325 cases of Afghan asylum applicants were pending in Germany, in France 18,410 people were waiting on a decision, while in Greece the numbers were 13,660.

Arguably, such numbers are manageable given European states’ size and their functioning asylum systems but, while 56 per cent of Afghans in Europe receive protection status, a large proportion is still in limbo in differing European countries’ asylum systems.

Europe hosts fewer than ten per cent of the three million UN-registered displaced Afghans globally, as neighbouring countries carry the burden of Afghanistan’s forced displacement: Iran hosts almost one million Afghan refugees and Pakistan 1.5 million, and these numbers double when adding undocumented or Afghan passport holders.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vials and a medical syringe in front of the EU flag. Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

During the last few weeks, the European Union (EU) has been widely criticized for its 'failed' vaccination strategy. But with all the focus on the general slowness of the EU in vaccinating the populations of its member states, another aspect of the EU's public health crisis has been ignored.

Undocumented persons are being left out of COVID-19 national vaccination programmes and Brussels remains alarmingly silent about it. This should come as no surprise as migration is a toxic issue and governments in EU countries are now under immense pressure to vaccinate their own citizens as soon as possible.

But the race towards herd immunity cannot afford the luxury of another EU standstill.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reese Tan poses with his British National (Overseas) passport in his favourite part of Hong Kong, the shopping and eating district of Mongkok. Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images.

Described by UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab as a ‘matter of principle’ and a ‘historic responsibility’, the UK’s decision to open an immigration pathway to citizenship for Hong Kong BN(O) (British National Overseas) status holders is unprecedented and unique – for its scale, its welcoming political rhetoric, and its geopolitical weight.

However, the rollout of this new visa scheme should not occur in isolation, because inconsistencies within British asylum and immigration policies can send a clear and unfortunate message that some refugees and migrants are viewed as more welcome than others.

Extending a safe haven to Hong Kong citizens at risk of political persecution is the right thing to do, but extending it to people at risk of persecution based on consistent, transparent, and solidary asylum and immigration systems is the better thing to do.…  Seguir leyendo »