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How to Deal with Refugees’ Plight in Europe?

Nigerians fear for their lives amid increasing attacks by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of Christians and bombed churches.

In Somalia, the Islamist terror group al-Shabaab is a major threat to the lives of civilians. In north-west Pakistan, insurgencies have killed tens of thousands of people. Civil wars in Sudan’s Darfur and Kordofan regions have also killed numerous civilians.

What’s worse, none of these countries are likely to have peace in the near future, and, therefore, the number of arrivals in Europe is only going to increase, especially of Christians from across the Middle East and Yazidis from Iraq – the main targets among civilians.

However, as Amnesty International has noted, “Ignoring the reasons pushing people to the EU such as conflict and human rights violations, EU leaders have focused on blocking their entry with abusive border control measures, as well as through practices or legislation which effectively deny them the right to seek asylum.”

The Dublin Regulation, a European Union law, states that it is the responsibility of entry-point countries for “migrants,” requiring asylum seekers to remain in the first European country they enter to apply for asylum. Those who cross over to other countries in the block can be deported back to the country they originally entered.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed that 120,000 asylum seekers be relocated across EU nations, on top of the relocation of 40,000 refugees in Greece and Italy. This is just a fraction of the total number of asylum seekers and the proposal has some other flaws, but the premise on which this proposal is based needs to be replicated by world leaders.

Just as this proposal seeks to ease pressure on the frontline EU countries and even as the European Union needs to do much more, world leaders could make efforts to accept asylum seekers in their countries to show solidarity with both Europe and asylum seekers.

U.S. Congress should also move a pending bill, H.R. 1568, the “Protecting Religious Minorities Persecuted by ISIS Act of 2015,” which could address the need for saving the lives of Christians in Iraq and Syria.

The bill mandates the Secretary of State to establish or use existing refugee processing mechanisms in Iraq and in other countries through which aliens from Iraq or Syria who have been persecuted, or have a credible fear of being persecuted, by ISIL, or a similar group, based on gender or religious or ethnic membership may apply directly to the United States Refugee Admissions Program for priority 2 refugee admission to the United States.

This report was researched and written by Fernando Perez, and moderated by the WEA-RLC Executive Director, Godfrey Yogarajah.

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Category: Fall 2015, Living the Faith

About the Author: Fernando Perez is a writer, researcher, and analyst for World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission (RLC).

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