|French President François Hollande gives the announcement|
during a press conference on Monday.
On Monday, President Hollande announced that his country, France, will accept 24,000 refugees over two years and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK will accept 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years. An estimated 381,000 migrants have arrived in Europe in 2015, and about half are from Syria.
Cameron’s plan would likely accept only Syrians from refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, to discourage migrants from risking their lives in the perilous journey into Europe and to avoid favoring the refugees who could afford to pay for the trip into Europe at the cost of those who can not.
There are an estimated 4 million Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. (about 1.9 million in Turkey, 1.1 million in Lebanon, 630,000 in Jordan, 250,000 in Iraq, and 130,000 in Egypt, according to the UNHCR.)
Although they constitute the largest group of migrants, not all of the migrants are Syrians. Tens of thousands of Afghans, Etrians, and Nigerians, have come to Europe in 2015. People from these countries would not be included in Cameron’s plan, but might be able to find refuge in France under Hollande’s plan.
Cameron plans to expand the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, which would allow the accepted refugees to reside, work, and access public funds in Britain for five years, after which the refugees could apply to settle in the UK.
The 24,000 migrants President François Hollande would let into France would constitute France's part in a plan Hollande is pushing in which each of the 28 EU countries would take a share of 120,000 European migrants over the course of two years. Hollande has also called for “hot spots” to be established along the borders of Greece, Italy and Hungary, countries through which large numbers of migrants are passing. These “hot spots” would process asylum applications there and deny ineligible migrants before they make their way through Europe to countries such as France and Germany. Both announcements came after a picture of a 3- year- old dead Syrian boy made headlines around the world, increasing international sympathy for the plight of migrants. Named Aylan Kurdi, the boy drowned off of the coast of Turkey after the boat he was on to get to Greece capsized. He was part of a Kurdish family fleeing violence in Syria. The image lead to calls in Europe to let in more refugees, and more pressure on political leaders to allow more refugees in.
Questions: What obligations do nations have in this crisis-- do they still have obligations to help refugees Saudi Arabia and other gulf states (like Qatar and Kuwait) have taken 0 Syrian refugees. Since Gulf states like Saudi Arabia helped fund fighting against Assad in Syria, are they obligated to take in Syrian refugees? Or do nations have no obligations to people of another country, regardless of their circumstances? Are European countries obligated to take in the refugees flooding into the continent? Is a state in which power is ostensibly derived from the people (referring to European parliamentary republics, not Saudi Arabia) obliged only to act in the best interest of its people, or do states have an obligation to help those in the greater global community with dire needs? When those two interests conflict, which should supersede the other?
The US has accepted about 1,500 Syrian refugees thus far and offers to accept 5,000 to 8,000 refugees next year. Should the US let in? Is the US obligated to promote the "general welfare" of humanity as well as her citizens, or does she only have to consider the well- being of her citizens?
All Sources: (in order in which they appear)
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/France-to-take-24000-migrants-under-EU-refugee-plan-Hollande/articleshow/48856028.cmshttp://www.wsj.com/articles/image-of-syrian-boy-washed-up-on-beach-hits-hard-1441282847 (The picture of the Syrian boy can be found in this article. Warning: It is disturbing.)
Source of the image displayed in this post: Reuters.