Beginning in 2015, large numbers of people arriving to the European Union from across the Mediterranean or overland through Southeast Europe engendered political challenges in several EU nations. Through its own hosting of millions of refugees, Turkey has played a crucial role in mitigating the extent of the crisis. However, as conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and parts of Africa continue to fester, hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people are likely to continue to seek refuge in Europe, threatening to trigger a new crisis. As a possible sign of things to come, in July and August 2019, more than 13,000 people landed on the shores of Greece, equalling more than half of all sea arrivals to the country recorded throughout the year thus far. The rise in recent arrivals has put extra strain on already overcrowded facilities on the islands where conditions remain dire. In the face of rising nationalist and Eurosceptic parties, it is unclear how, and if, Europe will be able to manage the ongoing crisis. What is clear, is that EU member states must seek an agreement on a comprehensive plan to effectively share responsibility for appropriately dealing with refugee and migrant populations. In addition to domestic political challenges, the EU is also faced with its own political divides which represent a significant hindrance to a humane and effective management of migration issues.
This session intends to discuss the following:
• What role can the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies play in creating and sustaining the conditions for lasting peace and building a culture of non-violence around the world?
• How can the refugee crisis be mitigated proactively and what role can European nations and institutions play in managing the crisis?
• To what extent are civil society organisations effective in responding to population movements?
• How does the rise of populist and far-right politics impact the humanitarian sector in Europe working on the refugee/migration issue? How can these issues best be resolved?