A refugee is a person who has fled their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution, conflict, or violence, and cannot return home due to this fear. Refugees are often forced to leave their homes and belongings behind and may seek asylum in another country.
The UK, like many other developed countries, is seen as a desirable destination for refugees for a variety of reasons, including its economic opportunities, social support systems, and relatively stable political situation. However, it is worth noting that the number of refugees who come to the UK is relatively small compared to the number who seek refuge in neighbouring countries or other parts of the world. Additionally, many refugees are unable to come to the UK due to restrictive immigration policies and procedures.
Refugees often leave their homes with little to no possessions and may have to travel long distances, sometimes across borders and through dangerous areas, to seek safety in another country. They are protected under international law and have the right to receive assistance and protection, including shelter, food, water, medical care, and education.
Refugees are distinct from other types of migrants, such as economic migrants, who move voluntarily to seek better opportunities or living conditions. Unlike refugees, economic migrants are not protected under international law and do not have the same legal rights or entitlements.
Where are the refugees arriving at Dover fleeing from?
The refugees arriving at Dover in the UK are fleeing from various countries, including those that are experiencing conflict, persecution, and other forms of violence and instability. The exact countries that the refugees are coming from may vary over time, but some of the main countries of origin for refugees arriving at Dover and other ports in the UK include:
- Afghanistan: Following the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, many Afghans have been forced to flee the country in search of safety and protection.
- Iran: Some refugees arriving at Dover may be fleeing persecution and human rights abuses in Iran, including political persecution and discrimination against minority groups.
- Iraq: The ongoing conflict and instability in Iraq has led to the displacement of millions of people, with many fleeing to neighbouring countries or to Europe in search of safety and protection.
- Syria: The conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011 and has led to the displacement of millions of people, with many fleeing to neighbouring countries or to Europe in search of safety and protection.
- Eritrea: Many refugees arriving at Dover may be fleeing from Eritrea, where there are reports of widespread human rights abuses, including forced conscription, torture, and arbitrary detention.
Many LGBTQ+ individuals face persecution and discrimination in their home countries and may flee to seek safety and protection in other countries. This includes countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
According to reports from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of September 2021, at least 1,146 refugees and migrants had died or gone missing while attempting to cross the English Channel by boat since 2014.
This is a tragic loss of life and highlights the dangers and risks that refugees and migrants face when they are forced to resort to dangerous and irregular migration routes to seek safety and protection. The vast majority of these people were seeking asylum in the UK or other European countries, and many of them were fleeing conflict, persecution, and other forms of violence and instability in their home countries.
There are many reasons why we have so many refugees coming to the UK, including:
- Many refugees are forced to flee their homes due to conflict and war in their home countries. This is often a result of political, ethnic, or religious tensions that escalate into violence and warfare.
- Some refugees are forced to leave their homes because they are being persecuted by their governments or other groups. This can be because of their race, religion, political beliefs, or other factors.
- Economic instability, poverty, and lack of job opportunities can also force people to leave their homes in search of a better life.
- Natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and earthquakes can also displace people and force them to become refugees.
- Some refugees may have family members who are already living in the UK or other countries, and may seek to join them for protection and support.
Why should local communities’ welcome refugees?
Welcoming refugees is the right thing to do from a moral and humanitarian perspective. Refugees are often fleeing persecution, war, and violence, and are in need of protection and support. Providing a safe haven for refugees is a way to show compassion and empathy for those who are suffering.
Refugees can contribute to the local economy through their skills, labour, and entrepreneurship. This can help address labour shortages, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs.
Refugees can bring diversity to a community, enriching its culture and contributing to social cohesion. This can lead to increased creativity, innovation, and cultural exchange.
Many countries have signed international agreements and treaties that require them to protect and assist refugees. Welcoming refugees is a way to fulfill these obligations and uphold human rights.
By welcoming refugees, local communities can enhance their reputation as compassionate and inclusive places to live. This can attract businesses, tourists, and other residents who value diversity and tolerance.
Overall, welcoming refugees can bring many benefits to a community if they are given the support and resources they need to integrate and participate fully in society. It is important for local communities to work together with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and refugees themselves to create welcoming and inclusive communities.
Should local people in rural communities’ fear refugees?
No, local people in rural communities should not be scared of refugees. While it is understandable to have concerns and questions about refugees, it is important to separate fact from fiction and to understand that refugees are people who are fleeing persecution, war, and violence and are in need of protection and support.
Many refugees have experienced trauma and may be suffering from mental health problems, but this does not mean they are dangerous or violent. In fact, refugees are often victims of violence and persecution and are seeking safety and protection in a new country.
It is important to recognize that refugees are screened and vetted before they are resettled in a new country, and that they undergo rigorous background checks to ensure they do not pose a security threat.
Furthermore, refugees can bring many benefits to rural communities, including contributing to the local economy, bringing diversity and cultural enrichment, and enhancing social cohesion. With the right support and resources, refugees can integrate and participate fully in society, becoming valued members of their new communities.
It is important for local communities to be welcoming and inclusive of refugees, and to work together with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and refugees themselves to create supportive and welcoming environments.
The UK is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has legal obligations to protect refugees and asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution and violence. The number of refugees coming to the UK varies from year to year and is influenced by global and regional conflicts, political instability, and other factors.
It is important for the UK and other countries to provide safe and legal routes for refugees to seek asylum and to support them in their integration and participation in society, as refugees can bring valuable contributions to their new communities.