UNHCR: Time Running Out to Resolve Refugee Emergency in Europe
Following yesterday's mayhem on the Serbian border with Croatia, which has closed some entry points, the UN refugee agency today issued a stark warning that time was running out for Europe to resolve the current refugee crisis.
UNHCR blamed the continuing absence of a coherent and united response to Europe's refugee situation as the main reason for the chaos and confusion on the Serbian border with Croatia yesterday and today and the dramatic scenes on Wednesday on the Hungarian border.
"With more than 442,440 refugees and migrants having arrived via the Mediterranean so far this year, some 2,921 deaths, and 4,000 people arriving on the Greek islands daily, the crisis is growing and being pushed from one country to another without solution," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva.
He added that the suffering and risks for thousands of refugees and migrants were meanwhile increasing as uncertainty and a lack of information fuels desperation, raises the likelihood of further incidents, and stokes hostility towards people who have fled persecution and conflict and are in need of help.
"This environment is fertile ground for people-smugglers and others seeking to prey on this vulnerable population," he declared.
In a press conference held on September 16, the Committee of Refugees in Transit Countries, formed by the Syrian Coalition, calls on the EU countries concerned, especially the transit countries, to deal with Syrians in a humane manner that ensures they are not exploited by human traffickers, to ease their suffering in accordance with international laws and conventions, and to provide them with temporary shelters, taking into account the weather conditions and the approaching of winter.
“The increasing flow of refugees reflects the plans of the Iranian-backed Assad regime to systematically displace the Syrian people. We have already warned of the regime and Iran’s plans to bring about a demographic change and to partition Syria,” the committee said.
“We call for the establishment of a safe zones to protect Syrians from Assad’s air force and barrel bombs and to protect them from ISIS attacks.”
“We also call for forcing Assad to agree to a political solution based on the formation of a transitional governing body full powers, and on Assad’s stepping down to stop the killing, destruction and displacement,” it added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)