By Mattias Sjolin
Imagine, they have walked for miles on end, displaced by their home country’s conflict. The only option they have is to leave their belongings, family, country, and heritage. They have to leave your identity in the fighting, and head somewhere new, not knowing if this new country’s people will be welcoming, or send them back, blaming them for what they haven’t done.
This is the only option that refugees from all over the world face everyday. They have to leave their professions to flee, most of the time by foot, to Europe or Asia, where even then only a margin of countries welcome them.
Throughout Europe, increasing, yet stagnant, conflicts are rising on whether we should receive these displaced people.
Let’s help them.
The Swedish prime minister, Stefan Lofven, and other officials are urging other Eurozone countries to take more action. At the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Swedish officials said that “if other neighboring countries were willing to work cooperatively to accept as many refugees as they had, Europe could easily absorb millions of refugees every year”. The UN has a chance to put a stop to the displacement of refugees, we as a world society have to seize that opportunity.
Annually, Sweden accepts the most refugees out of the entire European Union, but is followed closely by countries such as Germany, Austria, and Hungary, all countries that are taking in their fare share of asylum seekers and refugees. Frankly, these are not enough host countries. Once countries reach their capacity, it is imperative that more capable countries take action, or the negative effects of a temporary life for these refugees will show.
Sweden, for example, welcomed 160,000 refugees in 2015 to take asylum in cities throughout the country. As expats, we have all had to move, it is difficult, but at least we know where we are going, and we are aware of what is happening in out new host country. Refugees are no different. Many do not receive a chance to learn the language of their new country, and struggle to integrate into the new societies.
In conclusion and response to this information, it is plausible that most people would respond with violence when put in such a situation, which is what happened in many countries that are receiving refugees. These countries in central Europe have seen a sharp increase in crime rates in all domains of crime.
In Germany, there has been a 15% rise in cases of grievous bodily harm, and an 11 percent increase of home break ins. Additionally, the number of sexual assaults in Sweden increased by 13% in 2016. Two terrorist attacks have taken place in both countries in 2017, both committed by members of the terrorist organization ISIS. There is a fine line between accepting asylum and using it effectively, versus causing harm to the people that are accepting your state and welcoming you into society.
This is why we need to act positively.
But is this crime invited? Are nationalists, people that are against accepting refugees, triggering a small shift in thought, ultimately causing refugees to doubt their welcome, and act against it? In order to integrate into a new society, the society you are in has to fully accept you first, but citizens of Eurozone countries are protesting constantly to keep ‘their country theirs’.
How would you feel if you saw people of your new country demanding that you are thrown out? How would you feel if people disregarded your identity as a world citizen?
- “Sweden’s ugly immigration problem; For decades, the country has offered a generous welcome to refugees. If it isn’t working there, then where will it work?” Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 12 Sept. 2015, p. F2. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A428358718/GIC?u=60iskl&xid=e76f3cb0. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.
- “Europe Can ‘Easily’ Accept Millions Of Refugees, Says Sweden.” International Business Times [U.S. ed.], 21 Jan. 2016. Global Issues in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A518639978/GIC?u=60iskl&xid=4e273886. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.
- “Sweden facing ‘collapse’ because of refugees, foreign minister says.” UPI NewsTrack, 2 Nov. 2015. Global Issues in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A433401414/GIC?u=60iskl&xid=55ef8e25. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.
- “Report: Threats against Swedish Migration Agency employees on the rise.” Xinhua News Agency, 11 Sept. 2017. Global Issues in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A504090438/GIC?u=60iskl&xid=32559173. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.
- “Sweden Instates Border Controls For Refugees.” International Business Times [U.S. ed.], 12 Nov. 2015. Global Issues in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A518730019/GIC?u=60iskl&xid=a64c9bb2. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.
- Romei , Valentina. “How Well Have Germany’s Refugees Integrated?” Financial Times , 19 Sept. 2017, www.ft.com/content/e1c069e0-872f-11e7-bf50-e1c239b45787.