Responding to the Refugee Crisis in Europe

Release Date: 
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Migrants and asylum seekers queue up at Mytilene Port on the Greek island of Lesvos waiting for police clearance.  © Louisa Gouliamaki/IRIN

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A global refugee crisis is rapidly unfolding in Europe. Driven by protracted conflicts and persecution in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, increasing numbers of refugees are making the dangerous journey in smugglers’ boats across the Mediterranean toward Greece and other European shores. European Union (EU) governments, international humanitarian organizations, and local agencies are struggling to address the influx of hundreds of thousands of displaced arriving at their borders. Existing legal, policy, and operational approaches to humanitarian protection have proven insufficiently adaptable to evolving patterns of the conflict-related migration currently occurring. Without a better understanding of trends in mobility and factors of migration and displacement, practitioners will be unable to respond to the growing protection needs of the most vulnerable populations.

Through conversations with experts and practitioners, this podcast will assess current response mechanisms and identify strategies and practical approaches to addressing the vulnerabilities of displacement, with a special focus on understanding migration patterns from the Middle East to Europe through Turkey and Greece. The podcast will examine key trends and vulnerabilities of conflict migrants, with the goal of fostering dialogue on methods for enhancing the current humanitarian response in light of the complicated legal and practical challenges of operating in these contexts.

Key Questions:

  • What are the key drivers of vulnerability and need among refugees and conflict migrants?
  • What are the key components of a humanitarian response to meet the evolving needs and vulnerabilities of refugees and conflict migrants in the Mediterranean region?
  • What kinds of law or policy changes are necessary to enable states and/or humanitarian organizations to better meet the needs of growing numbers of migrants and refugees?

Expert Commentators: 

Abeer Etefa
Senior Spokeswoman, United Nations World Food Program (WFP), Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia & East Europe 
Twitter: @AbeerEtefa
Frédéric Morlet
Volunteer's Coordinator in Lesvos, Greece 
Twitter: @Fred_Morlet
Kathryn Sokol
Emergency Program Coordinator, International Rescue Committee
Twitter: @kathrynsokol | @theIRC
Dr. Apostolos Veizis
Director of Medical Operational Support Unit, Medecins Sans Frontieres-Greece
Twitter: @MSFGreece
Martin Xuereb
Director, Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) 
Twitter: @moas_eu


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