Migrants rights in an era of escalating conflict


Estimated time of reading: ~ 3 minutes

Amidst the backdrop of increasing armed conflicts worldwide, the issue of migration has assumed unprecedented significance, eclipsing even the migrant crisis of 2015-2016 in terms of urgency and complexity, across Tunisia, Ukraine, and Gaza. 

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) has brought grave accusations against the Tunisian government, alleging a systematic campaign of repression targeting migrants to secure support from Europe. These allegations underscore the dire consequences of political agendas prioritising financial gain over human rights. Simultaneously, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) observes a troubling trend of decreased migrant presence in Libya, attributed in part to interceptions by the EU-funded Libyan Coast Guard. However, interceptions alone cannot address the underlying vulnerabilities faced by migrants, who remain at risk of exploitation and abuse in transit. Furthermore, amidst the backdrop of escalating conflicts, the EU’s response to the migrant crisis remains multifaceted. In Israel-Palestine conflict, many civilians are being killed on a daily basis, while the atrocities of war leave thousands of people homeless and in refugee status. 

Additional funds are being channeled to Egypt for border surveillance and search and rescue operations at sea, even as concerns mount over authoritarian policies under President Abdelfattah al-Sisi. Meanwhile, UN agencies and the EU have marked 100 days of devastation in Gaza, calling for urgent humanitarian intervention to alleviate suffering and protect civilian populations. The recent shelling of a United Nations shelter in Gaza’s Khan Younis by Israeli forces serves as a stark reminder of the perilous conditions faced by refugees in conflict zones. The tragic loss of life underscores the imperative for immediate action to address humanitarian crises and protect the most vulnerable. 

Shifting focus to Europe, the refugee situation in Ukraine remains dire, with an estimated 6 million Ukrainian refugees seeking safety across the continent. Web portal People in Need reports that Estonia tops the EU ranking in terms of refugees per capita, with about 37 Ukrainian temporary protection holders per 1,000 inhabitants. Moldova and Montenegro, located outside the EU’s borders, report even higher proportions of refugees in their populations. Of the Western European countries, Ireland boasts the highest relative number of refugees, surpassing even Germany. With a population of just five million, the Ukrainian population in Ireland has already surpassed 100,000 and continues to grow. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s government has grappled with the relentless increase in the number of refugees, particularly as it exacerbates the long-standing crisis in the housing market. 

Written by: Nenad Stekić


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