The world has entered 2016, with many issues, among which the refugee crisis is one of the most dominating one. According to statistics from United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) more than one million refugees have reached Europe by sea since the start of 2015, creating Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II. Among these refugees around 200,000 are from Afghanistan.
The statistics show that about 844,000 travelled to Greece from nearby Turkey. Most of the others - over 150,000 - crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. Alarmingly, the number of sea arrivals has increased vastly since 2014, when it was recorded at slightly more than 216,000. About 49 percent of those crossing the Mediterranean Sea are from Syria, with 21 percent coming from Afghanistan.
And, the reports also reveal that number of those dead or missing at sea is now at 3,735.
The unfortunate fact is that the growing discontent in different parts of the world has made the number of refugees and asylum seekers rise to a great extent. At the moment, the crisis in Middle Eastern countries has compelled so many people to leave their countries and search shelter in European countries. Besides, there are many refugees who have travelled from Asian countries that are undergoing conflicts, disorders and discriminations. According to a statement from UNHCR, "The vast majority of those attempting this dangerous crossing are in need of international protection, fleeing war, violence and persecution in their country of origin." Afghanistan is at the top of the list among them. Decades of wars and terrorism coupled with droughts and shortages of basic needs have made millions of people to leave the country. Even though there has been decrease in this regard, millions of Afghan refugees are still living their lives in neighboring countries, like Iran and Pakistan, European countries, Australia, America and Canada; while, there are thousand others who are suffering in different sorts of camps and detention centers around the world waiting for some sort of sympathy and attention. The circumstances faced by these refugees are not always welcoming and they have to bear the brunt of different sorts of reactions. Though in some countries they are welcomed warmly, in others they are treated in a very cruel manner.
The migrants who leave their homelands are not always happy to do so. They have to face severe consequences for their action. Doubtful about their destinies they leave for the tracks that are not always smooth and merciful. There are many who become the victims of the hardships and accidents on the way. There have been many incidents wherein the Afghan refugees have been shot; they have drowned or have become the victims of the different sickness and even tiredness. The severe weather conditions have also devoured many lives. The paths that are followed by the refugees to reach Europe are covered by snow during the winter; yet again the refugees do not stop their journeys. This shows that they are really compelled by the circumstances that is why they are ready to take such risks.
The destiny of those Afghan refugees who have even reached to Europe is not known. European countries, influenced by the refugee crisis, are not on one page on how to tackle the situation. Currently, influenced by terrorist activities, many European countries have reservations regarding the in-take of refugees. Moreover, compensating such a large number of refugees is really a difficult task.
The tension caused by the refugee crisis within the EU has made some states putting up fences and re-imposing frontier controls. Last week, the EU agreed to increase the number of Frontex agency staff in Greece, where most migrants arrive before travelling further into Europe.
Germany says it has received more than a million refugees and migrants, the largest number of any European country, but this includes a large number from the Balkan states who are not counted in the sea arrivals.
It is really vital that EU should reach to a comprehensive solution to the issue of the refugees. Deportation alone is not the solution of the problem as there are many refugees whose lives are really in danger. They need protection as per the international law.
The issue of refugees is an international problem and needs proper attention from international community and concerned international organizations. The refugees who leave their homelands in search of better life, most of the times suffer different sorts of hardships before they reach somewhere safe. Most of them even do not reach to the destination they set for. On most of the occasions they fall prey to the ill intentions of human-smugglers, who discriminate them as much as they can. Furthermore, they have to go through severe kind of psychological depression and strain as they go through the worst sort of experiences.
Definitely there are political and diplomatic concerns for all the governments of the world to consider, but the issue of refugees is more important than such concerns, as it involves the precious human lives and the lives of human beings stand more sacred than any other concern, belief or ideology.