Do not slam the door on genuine refugees: UAE daily

ABU DHABI, 21st November, 2015 (WAM)–Top United Nations officials are absolutely correct when they say that Paris and Beirut terror attacks should not be used as a pretext to slam the door on genuine refugees and migrants.
The Balkan countries have already begun filtering the flow of migrants, granting passage to those fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but turning back thousands from Africa and Asia.
“New border controls in the western Balkans are leaving migrants stranded behind barbed wire as temperatures start to plunge,” said the UAE local daily, The Gulf Today, in its editorial on Saturday.
UN officials have stated that the measures by Macedonia, Serbia and other states are creating tension at border crossings and leaving some families stranded without adequate shelter.
Children, who account for a growing percentage of the migrants, are particularly at risk from the plunging temperatures.
It is as yet unclear how many children are on the move, but some 214,000 children are currently seeking asylum in Europe, according to Unicef.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has indicated that more than 4,000 refugees and migrants have streamed into Europe each day in November, adding to the influx of 846,000 people ­– many of them Syrians fleeing war.
“Plunging temperatures pose a major challenge, putting lives of thousands at risk,” it added.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson echoed the sentiments of all peace-loving people when he remarked, “”Those who flee this violence should not be punished twice – first by war or oppressive forces which persecute them at home. And, second, by unjust, dangerous stigma which even shockingly associates the refugees with their attackers. The refugees, if any, understand better than anyone the barbaric cruelty of violent extremism.”
The situation is indeed alarming. It is not since the end of the Second World War that so many people – more than 60 million – have been forcibly displaced around the world.
“What is needed is better reception centres and claims processing, creative solutions to find sufficient places of refuge through resettlement, private sponsorship, humanitarian visas, family reunification and more opportunities for local integration and access for refugees to job markets,” the paper said.
Europe’s current policies do not evidently rise to the challenge.
As Eliasson elucidates, sealing borders, building fences or taking a strict security approach to the movement of refugees and migrants does not solve the problem.
“Instead, there is a need to expand safe and legal paths to safety for refugees and migrants that put middlemen and traffickers out of business,” it concluded.