By PATRICK BOEHLER and SERGIO PEÇANHA
8 June 2015
(The New York Times) – Eleven million people were uprooted by violence last year, most were propelled by conflict in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Conflict and extreme poverty have also pushed tens of thousands out of parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Here’s a look at the international response to what has become the worst migration crisis since World War II, according to the United Nations.
Years of violence in Iraq and Syria have stretched the capacities of neighboring countries to accommodate the displaced. In Jordan, unemployment has almost doubled since 2011 in areas with high concentrations of refugees, according to a recent International Labor Organization study. Lebanon began to require visas from Syrians in January. Refugees now make up about 20 percent of Lebanon’s population. In March, Turkey announced it would close the two remaining border gates with Syria.
The European Union wants to stop smugglers near the African coast. European governments are divided over the fates of those who reach shore.
In May, European leaders said they would form a naval force based in Italy to combat people-smuggling. This week, the European Commission appealed to the bloc’s member states to accept quotas of migrants to relieve the burden on southern states, like Italy and Greece, which are the main landing points for them. Poverty and war in places like Libya, South Sudan and Nigeria are driving migrants to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. [more]