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Refugees in the Media


The way that refugees and asylum seekers are portrayed in some sections of the media is a huge concern.  But there are also journalists who do write seriously and thoughtfully about the subject and avoid the negativity too often shown towards very vulnerable people.  Some links to articles are shown below and we would be happy to add others that you may wish to suggest.


For general background on the migration of people across the Mediterranean, this article (Oct 2014) written by journalists from several newspapers is a good starting place.


The UK daily with the most regular coverage of these topics is probably the Guardian.  You might want to bookmark this page of news: 



Five myths about the refugee crisis. An important 'long read' from the Guardian, summarising the current international situation in June 2018.  "In 2015, the UN’s special rapporteur on migration proposed two responses that would have done much to alleviate the crisis: mass international resettlement of refugees from Syria, and a temporary work visa scheme so that economic migrants could come and go, without getting trapped in the deadly clandestine routes. The reason this hasn’t happened is because European governments simply don’t want to do it".



'Shocking' political rhetoric on refugees aims to poison debate, UN official warns.  Nov 2017 - an important statement from UN Special Representative Louise Arbour, reminding us that politicians as well as the media sometimes speak in the most poisonous way about issues of migration.  While not just about refugees and asylum seeker, it is helpful to see those movements within the bigger picture given here.


A letter to the old me, before Brook House. The Detention Forum does a great job keeping before the public the issue of immigration detention.  Over 30,000 people annually in this country are detained for an indefinite period in prison-like conditions on the say-so of the authorities.  Not a great advert for our attitude on human rights.  This article in the series "Unlocking detention - a virtual tour of the UK's detention estate" is a very moving testimony and shows the effect that such treatment can have on the individual concerned.


Top 20 facts about refugees and asylum seekers is an excellent summary from the Refugee Council as they seek to combat myths and prejudice.  In the first half of 2016, almost 600,000 people sought refuge in Europe, including many fleeing from the war in Syria.  Over 3,000 died in the same period trying to cross the Med.  Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Austria all receive more applications for asylum than the UK.  Read the full article and be better informed of the facts, on the Refugee Council website (Sep 2016)


There has been so much in the media over recent years about the plight of refugees and the response of European governments,some of it considered and compassionate and some less so.   Fleeing into the unknown: a journey from Eritrea to England is a little different, being an illustrated "story" that could be a good resource for small group discussions or the like.  From the ODI website (Feb 2016)


The battle over the words used to describe refugees.  Refugee?  Asylum Seeker?  Migrant?  Alien?  The very terms are loaded.  Read more in this article from the bbc (Aug 2015)


"Almost all women who make the journey from their homes in Africa or the Middle East are raped along the way, often arriving several months pregnant".  You can read more about the terrible journeys that many refugees have to make in this article from the Independent (Aug 2015 - sadly things are no better today).


The detainees tale is the title of a wonderful article by Ali Smith in the Guardian in June 2015.  It focuses on the true story of those migrants who are placed in a detention centre - while this does not apply to all, it is an experience that many will endure for periods that can extend to many months.  The article is strongly recommended.


Another really interesting article appeared in April 2015, concerning the movement of refugees from Eritrea and what is driving it.  "At least I won't be tortured", one migrant is quoted as saying.  Compared to that, almost any hardship may appear to be worthwhile.