A collection of news articles, op-eds and thinkpieces on migration
"Refugee referendum" in Hungary
On Sunday October 2, the controversial Hungarian referendum promoted PM Viktor Orban was declared null and void after less than half of the population casted their vote on the EU refugee quotas (a mere 1294 for Hungary). Even though 98% voted against the admission of refugees to Hungary, the low turnout rendered the result invalid. The referendum has ignited calls around Europe for more national autonomy on migration issues and was as much about the future of Europe as the future of Hungary. With the referendum crushed, Orban will have to reconsider his “cultural counter-revolution in liberal Europe”.
Afghanistan and EU sign controversial agreement
The EU and Afghanistan have signed a readmission agreement that allows member states to deport an unlimited number of Afghan asylum seekers. Both sides have also agreed to build a terminal at Kabul airport, designated for the deportations. The deal has been widely criticized amidst rumors that the EU allegedly threatened to cut off aid if the Afghan government did not accept the proposal.
The agreement is another step in the EU's intensifying efforts to keep migrants out of its borders. A recent report by Amnesty International reveals that ten countries host more than half of the world’s refugees. AI particularly criticizes rich, Western countries such as the United Kingdom, for not taking in more asylum seekers and effectively driving them to unsafe, hazardous journeys.
From states to cities: Managing urban migration
With national governments failing to take responsibility in migration management, cities are picking up and showing initiative, such as the case of Barcelona, where mayor Ada Colau is promoting the idea of “refugee cities”. While cities in the U.S. have relative freedom in migration policy, for cities to truly take lead, a shift in practices as well as discourse is needed, Charlie Sorrel argues.
Today, a lot of the work falls on local authorities, who need to be given greater voice in decision-making, and humanitarian organizations, which have focused their attention on legal recognition and protection. The Urban Institute encourages a shift from person to place, and to take advantage of urban resources and opportunities. A recent Brookings Institute report examines the case of Germany, where local governments respond to the needs of incoming migrants, and reveals the challenges and opportunities for cities across the world.
With more refugees living outside camps and in urban centers, Open Democracy has issued a special theme, "Cities of welcome, cities of transit", following a conference with the same title last summer.
Refugee children at school
In Greece and Italy, families’ xenophobia is entering the classroom, threatening migrant children’s right to education. In Greece, a proposal to allow refugee children to attend public school is raising protest from parents, whereas migrant children in Italy have been ordered to use separate bathrooms.